- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Posted December 12, 2000
moderately entertaining but very flawed
This is an attempt at a Katherine Hepburn/Spencer Tracey romantic farce. The Hepburn character is a sociologist researching fads. This circumstance affords Ms. Willis the opportunity to skewer various fads circulating in the mid nineties. One problem is that Ms. Willis and her heroine define 'fad' very loosely and arbitrarily: for example, a running theme is that legislation which prohibits smoking in public places is a pernicious and monumentally unjust fad--smokers with persecution complexes will be sympathetic, the rest of us simply annoyed. Another problem is that, unlike her Tracey character, whom she exalts for his imperviousness, Ms. Willis is herself very susceptible to insidious fads of language: I found one 'hopefully' pretending to mean 'I hope', two 'oxymoron's used incorrectly (an oxymoron is by definition not just any contradiction in terms, but a deliberate literary device), and one 'just that' (a perfectly correct but obnoxious rhetorical mannerism prevalent in the mid eighties). Overall, the prose is glib and perfunctory. The climax and denouenent of 'The Bellwether' are predictable, unconvincing, unsatisfying, and forced.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 14, 2000
Let's be clear: There is no reason to fault a science-fiction writer for not writing science fiction, but there is every reason to fault a novel that purports to be about science and isn't. If you want an exciting, light, very readable book that makes you feel you are taking part in an important scientific discovery and teaches you something about science without taxing your powers of concentration, read Watson's 'Double Helix'. (It may comfort you to know that some consider 'Double Helix' as much fiction as 'Bellwether'. I can't say, but if 'Double Helix' is fiction, it is certainly better fiction.) The anti-anti-smoking tract obtrusively interlaced into the plot (such as it is) of 'Bellwether' is not funny or witty or even believable. The author's protagonists, the one a sociologist, the other a scientist (though the author seems insensible of the distinction) are portrayed as non-smokers who are not the least bit discomfited by close-range cigarette smoke. Here's the straight dope, smokers: If any such persons exist in real life, they are strange physiological freaks. Want to be honest? Next time don't ask, 'Do you mind if I smoke?' Ask either, 'Are you a smoker too?' or, 'Will you suffer my smoking mutely?'
0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.