2021 Reading Challenge

2021 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 3 books toward her goal of 245 books.
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Book Review: Who is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews

I liked this one – both more than and not as much as I expected… I know, I know – oblique. But the book is odd and feels almost like two stories. There’s the “sweet girl trying too hard but to no avail” tale, but there’s also the “secret of Maud Dixon and what happens to her” one – and they are mashed together in a way that mostly works but occasionally left me feeling like I was floundering a bit…

I am a general fan of books about publishing/writing. I find the glimpses into the inner workings (whether real or imaginary) fascinating. Ditto the personalities and characterizations, which seem to suggest that all writers are a little bit wonky in the head (a perspective I personally share, as a sometime-writer myself) and that their views of the world aren’t necessarily simpatico with those of the gen pop. Andrews does a marvelous job playing with all those facets in this story, and the result is a wild ride that traveled far and wide (literally and figuratively) throughout the life of a very famous author.

There were some points after The Event (can’t spoil it!) at which I felt like I was meandering a bit more than I would like – and not always in service to the story, although sometimes (in hindsight, as I moved past that part) those wanderings turned out to be purposeful after all. It made for a slightly off-kilter read. Having finished the book, I imagine this was intentional – but at times it made the read feel a little more disjointed than the previous bits suggested were appropriate. Still, it worked on the whole and I’d definitely look up Alexandra Andrews again.

There are nods in blurbs and reviews to Patricia Highsmith. I think that may have been the problem – it set up an expectation in my head, and that expectation was largely unmet. That’s not the fault of the book, but of the way it’s being pitched. Go into this one cold. The writing is solid and the story is an intriguing, twisty one – and I think you’ll enjoy it much more if you don’t think about it too much or wonder what’s coming next. Enjoy the ride – it’s chock full of surprises, and I think best enjoyed with blinkers on!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation-free review copy.

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