22 August 2012

Book Review: Encore Valentine

So it’s been a while since my last book review and that’s because it took me a while to get through this latest edition to my Junk-Food-Novel Collection. Remember, just because I call it a Junk-Food-Novel, doesn’t mean it’s bad in anyway,  it just means it’s an easy read when you don’t want to contemplate theorists like Freud or to analyse the text and it’s postmodern context.

Basically I’m the slowest reading literature student EVER. I remember I needed to read Jane Eyre for a first year subject, I was suppose to read it in 2 weeks and I have yet to read the entire book. I gave up 3 days in and watched the BBC TV mini-series thing. I was also suppose to read Ulysses by James Joyce and that’s going to take me at least a year to get through. Let’s hope War and Peace doesn’t find it’s way into my book collection because that thing will get dus-ty!

My latest read is Encore Valentine by Adriana Trigiani.

Blurb on the Back:
A once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity takes shoemaker Valentine Roncalli from the winding streets of New York’s Greenwich Village to the sun-kissed cobblestones of Buenos Aires. Here, she finds a long-buried secret hidden deep within a family scandal. Once discovered, the truth shakes the Roncallis, while Valentine is torn between a past love that nurtured her and a new one that promises to last a lifetime…

My Thoughts:
Well, I have discovered that my attention to detail really sucks. If I had bothered to really look at the front cover I probably wouldn’t have bought it because it says that Sarah Jessica Parker found it “Hilarious and Romantic”. Nothing against Sarah Jessica Parker, I’m just not into the “Sex and the City” type novels. I also would have realised that this book is actually a sequel, which really didn’t matter in the end, but I still have a thing for reading books in order (don’t ask me about Harry Potter, just because I read that in all sorts of funny orders).

Back to the book! I find the blurb on the back slightly misleading. I really liked the story, I really liked the family and Valentine was a really relatable character, even though she is in her late 30’s and I’m in my mid-20’s, there was just something about her that made me really understand her and her plight. The blurb talks about the family scandal and how it rocks the family, but I feel like the scandal was down played quite a bit and the family scandal that resulted was pretty much done and dusted before it began so I feel like the blurb emphasisedthe wrong aspect of the book. It also suggests that Valentine is stuck in this sordid love triangle, but it only really gets to that on the last page and if there is a third book, then it would make sense if that triangle really starts to become this big deal.

Like I said, I really liked the story but not for anything that is said during the blurb. I like the story because you get caught up in this mad-house Italian family and you follow Valentine through this year-long adventure, you learn about her history, you learn about her, you learn about her family, all while following her through this journey where she is learning her faults and dealing with them or facing situations that make her uncomfortable. It is a test of Valentine’s ability to adapt and change and that is what I really got out of the book.

As for the other characters, I didn’t really like Gianluca from the beginning and I still don’t like him. I prefer Bret and I really want that conflict with him to evolve in a third book. I also really like Gabriel, but his decorating style makes me want to cry ugly tears.

There are of course moments where Valentine is yacking on about the smell of flowers or the look on someone’s face, there were a few moments like this, for example, Gianluca might be at the door and she will spend two pages talking about how he’s asking to come into her hotel room and how he looks and smells and sounds. All the while, I’m reading and wondering what Gianluca is doing while Valentine just randomly stares into space for two pages. I’ve read far to much of the Snark Squad’s 50 Shades of Grey Summary, so now whenever an “inner goddess dances” or an inner voice takes over, I wonder what the hell the other character is doing.

Valentine: Rant, Rant, Rant. Nice Suit. Smells nice. Keeps asking to come in”
Gianluca: F*ck me, is this woman going to keep staring at me. Is she ok or is she having an aneurism?

At the end of the book, however, there is a fun little addition of recipes and so forth, which I find kind of awesome. It was a bit of a “SUPRISE” at the end of the book, so, kind of awesome. No idea if I will try any of them, but I like that the option is there.

In other news, I should start giving books a star rating or something. I’ll start eventually.

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