Thursday, June 17, 2010

book review: The Truth About Delilah Blue by Tish Cohen

The Truth About Delilah Blue: A Novel (P.S.)
The backstory: Tish Cohen's first novel, Town House, was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best First Book for the Canada/Caribbean region. I haven't read Town House, but when I heard about her newest novel, The Truth About Delilah Blue, I was intrigued enough to read it.

The basics: Lila Mack, born Delilah Blue, moved from Toronto to Los Angeles when she was eight. She hasn't seen her mother since she was eight, and although she loves her father fiercely, she feels abandoned. Her mother chose her art over her daughter, and Lila longs to be an artist too. Her sensible, salesman father, however, will only finance business school. Lila decides to work as a nude model for an art school so she can absorb the lessons of the instructors while getting paid rather going into debt. As the titles indicates, however, there are secrets lurking and the novel explores Lila's coming of age and coming to terms with her childhood.

My thoughts: It would be simple to sum up my thoughts on this book with a single word: meh. While I didn't develop an emotional attachment to the book, I enjoyed it while I was reading it. The writing was good, and good writing goes a long with me. The story was fine too, but it had no surprises for me. Every event seemed telegraphed to me. I still can't decide if Lila's (realistic and justifiable) naiveté kept me from relating to her. Sometimes having the reader more aware of the situation and storyline can be compelling and provide suspense, but the opposite happened in this case. It all felt familiar. It wasn't great because it didn't pack any punch, but it wasn't bad because the idea of the story was nice and the writing was good.

The verdict: It could be a wonderful beach book for a casual reader and a delightful book for older teens, but for lovers of literary fiction, there's not quite enough heft of plot, story and wisdom to match Cohen's strong writing.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
Length: 412 pages
Publication date: June 1, 2010
Source: Review copy from the publisher via Around the World Tours.

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1 comment:

  1. Oh boy, our reactions were definitely similar! I was all kinds of "meh" about this one, too. Well, I guess that's not completely accurate: I had a strong reaction to the book, but it wasn't a positive one!


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