"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Monday, June 30, 2008

Book Review: Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross

The Great Readers of M's June Selection was Miss Julia Speaks her Mind by Ann B. Ross. Karren chose this book. First off, let me say that I "like" sentimental books where everything works out beautifully in the end. I have an abiding affection for mind candy of many kinds, and this genre is one of the ones I generally enjoy. I like the Mitford books.

Second, let me say that I adore books with oddball southern women taking on the world and winning. So I should have loved this book. I certainly had high hopes for it. A great title. But I hated it. For the first few pages, I liked Miss Julia. Then I hated her. She talks like a third-rate stereotype in a cheesy movie. She seems to be about as smart as a door, and not nearly as clever. And she didn't solve her own problems at all.

This book has a somewhat entertaining plot but very little literary value. Miss Julia's character is wildly inconsistent throughout. It seemed, for instance, that the author could not decide if Julia knew that her pastor was a creep or not. On one page she knew that clearly, on the next she was starting over at the bottom of that learning curve. The scene in which she is accused of being a nymphomaniac is unbelievable and just plain weird.

It seemed like a really bad "I Love Lucy" episode where people that you have seen to be smart and of good judgement did really odd, stupid things. The resulting situations required more unwieldy events to get back to a reasonable, and predictable, ending.

On the other hand, the overall plot provided enough interest to ensure that I finished the novel. It is easy, mostly positive reading for times when you need pure, low stress escape. I don't have much interest in the sequels, but I can concede that Miss Julia may have a place in the world of light reading.

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