What I Read This Week – The Postmistress

I’m usually a pretty voracious reader. I typically finish a book every week. Then suddenly in December, I found myself with readers block. I couldn’t seem to get tough more than a few chapters of anything. It didn’t matter if it was fiction or non fiction. Even longer magazine articles became overwhelming. It’s like every time I tried to read my brain became like an fussy infant refusing a spoonful of mushy peas. It simply would not take in anything. This went on for months.

Finally, in March I sat down and forced myself to read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. It was a book I’d selected for a book club so I had an obligation to get though it before the meeting (it was a fantastic, by the way). I struggled to get though it, but afterward, my mental malfunction seemed to be fixed. Since then, I’ve been back to my old self. Once again, I’ve found the patience to sit down and read.

Last week, I finished The Postmistress. It was a book to watch for according to Oprah. It was also one of Heather’s Picks (Chapters/Indigo CEO Heather Reisman for those not familiar). The synopsis sounded intriguing. It was sure to be a great read.

It really wasn’t though. It turned out to be pretty mediocre. It wasn’t terrible, it just didn’t live up to the hype.

After finishing the book, I had to wonder: did the person who wrote the synopsis read past the first chapter of this book? The description was really misleading. The postmistress really wasn’t the center of the story. In fact, I didn’t feel like there was any center to the story at all.

There were a few plots going on in this book and each of them would have made a good premise for their own novel. There was, of course, the postmistress herself, as well as an ambitious war correspondent reporting from London during the Blitz, the new wife of a small town doctor and a seemingly random man from Austria. All of these characters sparked my interest, but never really developed enough for me to understand their motivation or plight. In the end they were all haphazardly thrown together in a manor that I assume the author intended to be profound and touching, instead it felt contrived and unrealistic.

Somewhere I’d heard this book described as The Help,meets The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Having read both, I never would have made that comparison. I would, however, recommend both of those novels (I especially loved The Help), but I don’t feel like I can make such a strong endorsement for The Postmistress.

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  1. I’ve had reader’s block for about a year. Comes and goes. I have a stack of books in my nightstand mocking me every night. It sucks so hard to read something that doesn’t excite you. The last one that did that to me was “The Corrections’ by Johnathan Franzen. That was years ago and makes me wonder if I should revisit it. It’s always strange to read things again when you’re in a different place.

  2. I was also disappointed with this one. I found it to be rather anti climatic and the ending – well not really an ending. I would skip this one and wait for the TV movie.

    I just started One Day by David Nicolls and am really getting into it!

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