Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review: Songs of Willow Frost

Songs of Willow Frost
Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I didn't really like [b:Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet|3367956|Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet|Jamie Ford||3407295], so I'm not sure why I picked this up; maybe I thought that, because it had such great reviews, it might be better? Not so much.

I've concluded that I just don't care for Jamie Ford's writing. While I have immense respect for anyone that can write a book and then have the guts to go get it published, I don't think he is able to successfully narrate for a child, or represent how a child would think, act, or talk. Unfortunately, this perspective constitutes the majority of both "Songs of Willow Frost" and "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet."

I also felt the writing was incredibly spotty, and in some sections it seemed like some of the story had been hastily added in, or a chunk removed so that it didn't flow well overall. Much like "Hotel," I wasn't able to engage with the plot until the last 50-75 pages.

Things I thought Ford did well in this novel: the way he relayed the vast inequalities of the social service systems in place in the 1920s and 30s, as well as the racial inequality that Chinese-Americans faced, that, while still problematic today, was so much worse then; the portrayal of the blossoming film industry (though some of this seemed forced as well?); and showing what Seattle might have looked like during the Great Depression.

If you like "Hotel," you'll probably like this too.

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