I was so excited about reading the Women’s Prize Longlist I jumped right in, and, well, sadly, it hasn’t been the most auspicious start for three reasons.
1. I began with A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing.
It was the book everyone was talking about, so it seemed like a good idea. But I should have known better. As so frequently happens with books that everyone’s talking about, I just don’t get it. And the weird hybrid thought/speech writing style was so annoying (I kept waiting for it to stop) that it made me give up after having read 20%, given up three hours of my life I won’t get back and having reminded myself “this is a hobby – something you do for fun – if you’re not enjoying it, stop”.
2. I tried to follow this up with a safe bet: Still Life with Breadcrumbs.
I love Anna Quindlen so was sure this book wouldn’t annoy me. And it didn’t. But it was at the other end of the scale: it was too safe. Even the cover is safe. It felt like every well-written ‘pink book’ I have ever read. It’s the kind of book you would neither recommend to a friend, nor dissuade them from reading. It is full of aphorisms that you feel you may have read somewhere else before, but just aren’t sure. It’s no prize winner.
3. I dropped my kindle in the bath. Ok, I realise this isn’t the judge’s fault, but it’s frustrating. So now I am reading The Bear on my phone. At the moment (about 30% of the way in) I am enjoying it, but not loving it. Similarly to how I felt about Still Life with Breadcrumbs…
But I am going to power on and not get too despondent. I have always found wonders through the Women’s Prize and am sure this year will be no different. It’s just been a run of bad luck. Now, time to order another damn kindle….