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The Book of Proper Names [Paperback]

Amelie Nothomb

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Paperback, May 6 2004 --  
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LUCETTE HAD BEEN suffering from insomnia for eight hours. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly wonderful work-- until the end! Feb. 27 2008
By T. Layne - Published on Amazon.com
How I loved this book. Amelie Nothomb's prose is elegant and original, and I was drawn in to the character of Plectrude and her mother Clemence. However, toward the end of the book, the character of Clemence undergoes drastic changes that are, even with the strong possibility of mental illness, not believable. And then, literally in the last 5 pages of the novella, things go haywire. One review called the book's ending "cheekily ubsurdist". That is all well and good, but unfortunately, the bottom line is that the ending is HORRIBLE. The book just stops. It's very bizarre, and really does read as though the author completely lost interest in the story altogether and created a ridiculous ending to be done with it all. I rate a three because the writing is so lovely, and the idea so intriguing, yet it is all trashed in the last 5 sad pages. I was truly disappointed.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book but bad End April 27 2005
By Sweet - Published on Amazon.com
The book very well written, interesting, and keeps you hooked but the end is such a dissapointment. It appears as if the author got tired of writing the book and chose the most ridiculous ending possible so that she could say it was done. Despite this fault the writer has a great tone and has a good grasp of how children think and see their lives.
The story is about a little girl that looses her mother to suicide and then grows up with her aunt. Her aunt encourages her to become a ballerina and when the character fails to be an accomplished ballerina her aunt literally stops loving her.
3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Disappointing Nov. 26 2011
By Debnance at Readerbuzz - Published on Amazon.com
Plectrude, the main character of this book, knows nothing about her past. She is unaware of the fact that her mother killed her father and then killed herself. She knows nothing about her mother's dreams that she "not be limited at all." There is something special about Plectrude, nevertheless, and all who come to know her discover this about her. She has haunted eyes and an intriguing way. Her aunt and uncle, who raise her, feel this specialness, and allow her to do things her foster siblings are not allowed to do, to experience things her siblings are not allowed to experience. It all ends, as it must, in tragedy, though not in a way the reader might expect.

The story felt very jerky to me, like playing a game of chess with character and moving the pieces suddenly across the board. The ending, though surprising, felt false and silly.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Abrupt ending! May 21 2008
By Tonya Speelman - Published on Amazon.com
The Book of Proper Names

Very interesting. We have a nineteen year old getting ready to have a child. She is peculiar to say the least. Her husband gets on her nerves and so she shoots him. She goes to prison for his murder. Has the baby girl, names her a very peculiar name and then hangs herself. So the baby girl goes to live with an aunt and uncle. They raise her, the aunt wanting to live out her own dreams through the girl. Eating disorders and mental illness abound in this book.

I did enjoy this book, but the ending just really jarred me and left me feeling like I was asleep for part of the book. --

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