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Posted September 14, 2010
The Failure of The World Below
Doomed romances and relationships, numerous deaths and family secrets, and stories from the past and present set the standards for a great book. Sue Miller's book, The World Below includes all characteristics, and starts off with potential to be a great read. However, a few pages in leaves readers wondering how it could be a New York Times Notable Book and a National Bestseller. With weak characters, predictable plot, and awkward relationships, The World Below is a huge letdown.
Cat Hubbard, two-time divorcee, escapes across country in the dead of winter to rural Vermont. Staying in the home of her grandparents and where she grew up, Cat tries to find herself again. While rummaging through the attic, she stumbles upon her grandmother's journals. The book then rotates between present day, Cat's childhood, and her grandmother's life; each time period as boring and forgettable as the next.
50-year-old Cat, trying to remember who she used to be, remains in Vermont for several months until her pregnant, middle-aged daughter goes into labor. Cat zooms back to California leaving multiple strings hanging. An awkward and unfit relationship with 70-year-old historian, Samuel, and rediscovering herself included.
Extremely drug out and depthless, Sue Miller's book falls flat. Every part is feeble and forgettable; characters, plot, and setting. The book deserves one out of five stars, maybe. All 275 pages creep sluggishly by, causing one to find better things to do; chores, laundry, or even homework.
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