Monday, March 21, 2011

A Review of Cleaning Nabokov’s House

I heard the review for Cleaning Nabokov’s House on NPR and raced home to download it onto my nook. There was something about the review that sold me.  I began to read right after dinner, swiping the screen as I raced through the pages. The author welcomed me into her story and I had a difficult time putting it down. The overall theme was not unusual: husband and wife fight but the twist was the wife leaving and losing the kids in the process. I won’t give the story away but will tell you there are more bizarre elements that are not the “norm”.

While reading this book,  I recommended it to several co-workers and friends. It was an easy read and the author showed creativity in her storytelling. I couldn’t wait to get to the end to find out how the story would wrap up. Of course I expected her to get her kids back.

Last night I swiped the last page of this book. This book, which was so welcoming and kept me reading with great interest,  dumped me at the end. It made me feel like the author suddenly had something better to do than pen this story. It was rushed, trying to tie up the lose ends quickly and I felt cheated. I see many of my students do this with their stories and I have written like this too. The labor of love that starts the tale is not always there for the finish.

I have a new book waiting, The Tiger’s Wife. I hope this author respects me a bit more by writing with zest until the end.


  1. What a disappointment to be hooked for so long, only to end on a disappointed note. I saw a review of this book in our Sunday but have not yet gotten around to reading it.

  2. I hate, hate, hate when writers bail at the end! But then, in some ways I sympathize because endings are the hardest part for me too!

  3. I hate it when that happens! Always such a disappointment.I love how you said the book dumped you at the end. It personified your personal relationship with the book.

  4. Hmm...yes it is like being brushed off by a new friend. It is also interesting to me that it seems to be such a common experience. I have taken students to the bookstore before to hunt for really great first lines. Perhaps I should work on some project where we look for really great endings as well?

  5. Maybe it's not such a waste to read a book like that once in a while. Reminds us to do better, to teach our students better. But-what a disappointment to read & read & then crash at the end. Thank you for telling us the REAL story of that particular book.

  6. Oh, it drives me crazy when writer's can't keep up their energy all the way through! Don't they have editors to send them back to their notebooks until they get the job done right? I hope your next read doesn't disappoint.

  7. I hate it when that happens.

    I love the words you used to describe about the author at the end of her book. It made sense...I feel like the Hunger Games trilogy did that at the end of the last book.

    Loved the choice of using the verb pen...made me read your entry with new eyes.

    Hoping your next read doesn't let you down!

  8. As readers we get attached and even a "good" or satisfying ending can leave us feeling empty. It's like the feeling one is left with after house guests leave for home.

    An abrupt ending is just unacceptable. It's guests leaving without saying good bye.

    I hope the Tiger's Wife is a winner.

  9. There was an article I just read in the NYTimes about disappointing final chapters. I think it is the hardest thing--next to the opening sentence--to write. And I'm with you when the ending lets me down, or I feel the author has toyed with my emotions, or forced an ending to happen that was not integral to the novel. I just downloaded Tiger's Wife on my iPod and look forward to listening to that (my mother and I do this together--she can't see very well and it's my way of joining her world). Have you read The Help? That one kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end.

    Elizabeth E.