Yearnings of the Heart Paperback – Feb 7 2013
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While reading this book, I found that I could put it down at any moment, because the composition was homobjecctive and linear. There was a flashback here and there, but at any given moment, there was only one thing going on at once. The book lacked worldliness, not in the sense of humility or wisdom, but because the author described only what was going on in her life, and failed to connect events in her life with actual dates for perspective. Furthermore, the writing is extremely subjective.
I realize, of course, that the book is written by the subject, but she tends to portray herself as a saint, only making mistakes when she had something to learn from them, and with a resolute, unwavering sense of morality, despite her disadvantages. I can't say for sure that the author is being dishonest without knowing her personally, but considering her recent litigation with Disney, over a story nothing like her own, I'm sure enough to bet on it.
In conclusion, this book makes me feel like I'm grading an SAT essay from a student who has memorized every essay template as preparation. It's technically okay, but the closest it comes to actual expression is self-worship, mentioned above. If you want a dry book, and have enough interest in the events of the story to ignore the style, this is the book for you. However, if you're looking for a good book that you'll enjoy reading and re-reading, it's not this one. You will find yourself disappointed.
I touched on the author's current legal action against Disney, and I feel I would be remiss if I did not elaborate on why this story is nothing like "Frozen," It seems that the author, in her decision to litigate, ceased to remember the exact difference between character archetypes, themes, and actual plot. I'll list a few of the "infringements" cited in the complaint. In both the author's life and Frozen, there are instances of "a village" "two sisters" "sisterly love" "personal tragedy" "two male characters" "betrayal" "concealment" "moon setting" "hands to the sky with sprinkles" and "open door/gates." I've left out a few, not to pick and choose data, but because their meanings were not clear without explanation. The full summons for legal action is available online. Now, none of these (except for the "accident between sisters," mentioned in the complaint) are plot devices. As a matter of fact, most of them are themes, used by storytellers even before writing was a thing. Disney did not read Tanikumi's book and immediately think "Holy s***, you know that one part of the book where it's night time and the author describes the moon? That just gave me the idea to put a moon in our new project!" Under the same precedent, it could be argued (much more convincingly, mind you) that Tanikumi's autobiography heavily plagiarizes Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen."
Turns out, it didn't have any similarity to "Frozen" whatsoever, except the highly generic one you can draw from pretty much any written work, such as "has women on it", "happnes on a planet" and "there is water somewhere at some point".
As for the writing itself, well... it's just bland. Bland, listless and run-of-the-mill. Technically, you can't find fault. the prose, style, composition and presentation is functionally good. But that's about it. It has no soul. Desciptions, of both locales and feelings, are bland and uninspired. The ryhthm is a continuous straight line, taking you from place A to place B without bumps on the ride, without any noticeable happenings and without an end or purpose to it all on sight. Characters are flat, archetypal and lacking in the most basic human depth, so even in the midst of the greatest tragedy, it's hard to feel for any of them, empathize or walk on their shoes. It's like watching bad stuff happen to a gingerman cookie. You might to through all the horrors of hell and emerge feeling the same, because you can't possibly project on him. Make that for every single character in the book. The author's character is especially irking in that sense- it shares the sames flaws, along with a holier-than-thou attitude and a liberal dose of sweetening of her character and choices that would be embarssing in a teenage author, much more so on a fully grown adult with that wealth of experience on her shoulders.
There is no soul, no spark, and no emotion. You can't invest on the people on the story and what happens to them. You can't CARE. I gave the book away to a charity for free after I was done, and I know I'll miss the meagre amount of money it cost me more than I'll ever miss the book itself.
And it's a shame, because the story itself, presented on the right way, with adequate pacing and a bit less technical proficiency and a bit more heart, could have been a compelling and even powerful one. It had all the ingredients. The author just seemed, however, by whatever reason, to have decided to present them in the most boring, unemotional and listless way possible.
Maybe one star is a tad too harsh- as it said, the book is not poorly written. I've seen a good deal of books that are way worse in that respect. But for me, the thing that makes or breaks a book is the story, and the story in this one... well. Suffice to say I've already forgotten most of it.