(Author: Scott Wilbanks) + (Year: 2015) + (Goodreads)
What happened with this book is simple: It didn’t tickle my fancy. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason for it and because of that I’d assume that it was not so much as one thing, as it was all of the little things that I didn’t particularly like.
The good part of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster is that it’s has a good idea behind it. Who doesn’t love time travel, paradoxes and magic?
Unless – after the author gets his great idea, he or she fails to deliver. Because that happened for me. I don’t even know in what order to list things, there was just so much going on in this book.
#1: There was so much going on in this book. In just 400 pages the author managed to use a Jane-Austen-wannabe character, a gay best friend, a magical door to the past, a grumpy old widow, a magician, an aggressive mafioso, Pippi the pickpocket, using knowledge to become rich in the future, using knowledge to be badass in the past, not one, but two love stories, an accident in the present, a murder in the past, Cherokee shamans, time paradoxes, a long list of mental and physical diseases, family drama, and many more which I’m probably forgetting, because, and I’m saying this for the third time, too much is happening in this book. And as a result I kept forgetting characters and story-lines because they were replaced by other equally as important characters and events.
#2: The I’m-just-like-a-Jane-Austen-character cliche. You’re not. Enough with this already. Austen died, write your own characters, lazy writers. Or don’t write at all. I’m having deja vu. In the last two months I’ve read at least three books where there is a character who’s oh-so-special, speaks like a Jane Austen character and dresses as one and is damn proud about that and the fact that is a total outsider. I think literature is creating all the wrong ideals for little girls. You are not a bad person if you have friends, so authors, stop making it seem so. Please and thank you!
#3: Since there has been so much new literature about America in the past, an idea: why don’t you for once honor the native culture of North America by skipping the dreary and hard to like hardened Americans and go a step back to the times of the Native Americans next time you write about time travel or simply about the past. It is highly insulting that entire cultures where wiped-out and everyone who writes about the past acts like the continent of North America came to exist after it was colonized.
After reading just two books set in the 18th and 19th century America, it has become quite the burden for me. I find their lack of culture and abundance of foul language, poverty and cold demeanor almost repulsive. I don’t think I’ll be returning to any American literature from or set in the times before the 20th century.
#4: Unworthy villains. I’m going to keep this spoiler free, so I’ll just mention that aside from one tidbit about Mr Culler, he was a really bad antagonist. He failed completely to live up to his name and the way all the rest of the characters described him. I found him laughable at some points and until the middle of the book I was expecting the real enemy to show up. Instead we were left with this puppet, who couldn’t off even an old lady. Sorry if I’m not buying it.