The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I was disappointed with this read, it was not what I expected. Very disappointed, I wanted to like this novel but just couldn't. Too melodramatic and at times unrealistic, too contemporary (despite it being historical fiction) 'Gone With The Wind' for my tastes. Too much in one novel about too many people facing nearly every imaginable awful hardship a human can endure at the time it takes place. Emotions are written about but I often couldn't feel them. There was a lack of depth at times. And I felt like so many aspects of the novel were familiar, as if I was seeing things from history, other novels and movies. It was hard at times keeping everything strait. I do not shy away from reads that deal with the issues & horrors of slavery and indentured servants but I didn't care for how this novel told those stories.
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I am facilitating the chat on this book for evening bookclub this week and I do think it's going to be a very interesting time! Many liked it, a few of us didn't.
And I for one want to know why there's no controversy surrounding this novel? Gone With The Wind is beloved but it is not without controversy! Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life Of Bees) and Katherine Stockett were highly criticized for writing from the points of view of their black women characters, why has this not happened with Kathleen Grissom? I have Googled to the point of delirium and can find nothing much to speak of. Her bio background is vague and her telling of how she came to write this novel reminds me of how Stephanie Myer came to write the first Twilight novel (which I am more inclined to believe).
I'll update this post after the evening bookclub chat!
*Update 4/25/12: Last night was a lot of fun and not just because it was our first book chat back at our newly renovated Library! 2 of us, including yours truly, didn't like the book, one was so-so about it and the other 8 gals loved it! And honestly, I am so relieved! I was truly disappointed by this novel, as I've said before, but I am very happy that so many of the bookclub enjoyed it! We had a great, sometimes rowdy discussion and all in all went very well.
I'm always a wreck before facilitating a chat and of the 5 I have done (2 for the winter short story chats and this being my 3rd for the evening club), they're going more smoothly as time passes which is a big relief!