Drawing comparisons…

So, as I work on my new manuscript (16K whoo-hoo!), I decided to read some books that are similar the the subject I’m tackling (widowhood).  I’d read P.S. I Love You some years ago and have seen the film, but bought the book and will be watching the movie again soon (and will hopefully provide additional reviews).  On the Goodreads page for P.S. I Love You was the suggestion of ‘The Year of Pleasures’ (the title is terrible and the more I think of it, the more horrible it gets).  After reading the description, I thought, “Yes, this is something I should read.”  Given the topic of my work in progress, I’m sensitive of writing something too similar that’s already out there.

978-0-8129-7099-9
Year of something else…

So, I read.

And I cringed.

And to be fair, I highlighted a few passages.

And then I sighed and as I finished the book said, “Really?”

And then I wasn’t worried about my book.

The thing about The Year of Pleasures is that it’s entirely too neat, too clean, too saccharine.  I want my book and character to be messy.  I want my widow’s suffering to be something big to overcome.  Of course the protagonist in The Year of Pleasures is sad and goes through some difficult times, but in reality, her bounce back comes from nearly perfect new friends and old friends that magically appear and want to be in her life in a altogether nauseating series of events.  (I will not even go into the complete out of character experience with her ‘new man.’)

To be honest, the Amazon reviews seem to echo my experience from the book.

“In my experience, recovery from the loss of a spouse doesn’t proceed so quickly or so sparklingly. I know widows’ experiences vary greatly, but I’ve not yet heard the likes of this story in real life.”

As research, it was a good read – the novel is helping shape mine in that I know what direction I certainly do NOT want things to go.

Would I read another book by Ms. Berg?  Based on The Year of Pleasures, probably not.

What are your thoughts?

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