Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Road to Paradise - Paullina Simons

I've just finished reading Road to Paradise by Paullina Simons. I'm strangely reminded of the song that never ends. You know, it just goes on and on, my friend? Same with this novel. It just went on and on, and when it finally got towards the end, a whole heap of action was thrown into the last 50 pages, and then it jumped ahead 27 years and left me wondering, what on earth was that all about??

I love the intensity of Paullina Simons' characters (The Girl in Times Square, Tully, The Summer Garden trilogy). I always end up feeling emotionally drained at the end of one of her novels, and feel like I've known the characters for all my life, so strongly is their identity built up. Road to Paradise just went nowhere for me, though. I can see how carefully it was researched, in terms of geography, popular music from the late 70s/early 80s, and religion. I just felt that the research was all plotted together around the setting, and the cleverness of the journey (aiming to reach Paradise, but realising it's not really where they want to be) could have been wrapped in with 200 fewer pages.

I persisted because I have this funny hangup about finishing books I start, and also because I was optimistic that this would turn out to be a typical Paullina Simons tale, ie emotionally intense, with gripping character development and entirely worth the investment it in the end. Sadly, it wasn't. Next time, maybe?

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