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The book I liked (it tells more than it shows)
on December 20, 2012
"The House I Loved" is a fictional first person account of 60 year old Rose Bazelet writing letters to her deceased huband Armand about the demise of their beloved family home during the renovation of Paris in the 1860's. I was interested in the book's theme - it was my first chance to learn about the "Haussmann Plan". However, I was disappointed that it didn't go into greater detail. If you've ever read Moby Dick, it examines whales in great detail. So, maybe not that kind of extensive detail, but at least a little more to offer readers who spend the money on it.
For a book of just over 200 pages, it took me longer to read than I thought it would. It didn't have a steady clip, rather, it sauntered along. It was far too repetitive on Rose's statements about the destruction of her neighbour. Rose befriends Alexandrine the florist and Gilbert the ragpicker, two characters with much potential, but with surface sketches only. It seemed like a cop-out for Rose to say (a few times) that she didn't know much about their background. Why the author didn't flesh them out further seems odd. I was always taught in writing to show don't tell - this book was more about the tell, which is why it was not as compelling as it could have been.
Although Rose's letters to Armand are heartfelt, the story remained at surface level, not running deep enough to produce a grounded emotional pull. As my title states, I liked it and it certainly was not a waste of reading time, but as you can tell from my review, I didn't love it as much as Rose loved her house!