By Jennifer Egan
Anna is 12 years old when she accompanies her father on a business trip to meet Mr Styles. She notices her father is visibly nervous for her the first time in her experience and knows he must be important in some way.
Years later Anna's father has disappeared and a chance encounter brings Mr Styles back into Anna's life.
This review for Manhattan Beach is one of the hardest I have had to write. I have started to write it several times but each time I came near my kindle to get a few quotes to put in my review I found myself finding some other task to occupy myself with instead. The idea of having to read any more of the book just put me off completely.
Many times, whilst reviewing books I have decided not to finish them knowing they weren’t for me, but Manhattan Beach was different because there was the occasional glimmer to interest me and entice me back. The result of this was that around 58% of the way through I decided to give up on the book and to avoid picking up my kindle for a few days, so I wouldn’t be tempted and disappointed again. The few days ended up spiralling into an almost month-long reading slump.
Today I decided that enough was enough and It was finally time to start writing the review but without any quotes from the book.
It is hard to explain what this book was about it because that is one of the main things I struggled to determine whilst reading it as it chops and changes and goes off on some very dull tangents. It begins with a 12-year-old girl named Anna accompanying her father on a business trip to see a man named Mr Styles.
I found this first part of the book interesting and enjoyed the way the author described Anna’s experiences in a house so vastly different from her own. I also enjoyed reading about her father’s desire to be a good father and husband despite his inability to love his disabled daughter in the same way his wife and Anna were able to.
After this portion of the book there were vast portions where I felt like I really wanted to give up. I was interested in Anna’s experiences of trying to establish herself in a job which before the war had been male dominated. I also liked reading about how her experience of the job differed from the experience of her married colleague.
The point where it lost me again was when the book went off on a tangent about diving and Anna’s ambition to be the first female diver. If I hadn’t have had thirty minutes of my lunch break left with nothing to do, then I would have given up on the book at this point.
If the book had just been about Anna and her mother’s struggles to look after her sister Lydia, or solely about Anna’s working life then maybe I would have stuck it out. Likewise, if it had simply been a description of life as part of the mob then I would have enjoyed it more. My problem with Manhattan Beach is that I can’t really say it was about anything and each part didn’t fit smoothly with any other part. I was left wondering what the point was and why I had wasted so much time on this book.
I am sure there are reasons why some people found this book wonderful and there are so many good reviews of it but personally I cannot think of any.
Our Final Rating...
Read & Shared 37 Times.