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Frog Music (2014)

Frog Music (2014)

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3.13 of 5 Votes: 3
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031632468X (ISBN13: 9780316324687)
Little, Brown and Company

About book Frog Music (2014)

I found the beginning of this book oddly worded. It read more like the script for a play to me, which I did not care for. After that, the story alternates between what happened before the death of Jenny and after. I found that this did nothing to enhance the story, but instead, made it less enjoyable. It took about 1/4 of the way through the book before I truly started to enjoy it. Getting to know Blanche and Jenny and how their friendship blossomed was the highlight of the story. The growth of Blanche, I found especially interesting. The climax of the story was unexpected. I did not, however, care for the way the book ended. despite the odd beginning and lackluster ending, I would say it a book worth reading. if you're looking for a book that mirrors Room, this isn't it. If you're looking for something that's a plot-driven murder mystery, this isn't it. If you're looking for a historical costume drama--well, this is kind of that, but not in a beautiful way. This is serious literary fiction, untidy and sprawling, and it makes no concessions.Frog Music is my favorite kind of historical fiction book--the kind that doesn't lightly trail a feather duster over the past, but really gets into the grime and smell and effluvia of the time period. History is gross, people! It isn't all ladies with bobbed hair swanning around in beaded dresses. And oh, does this bring the gross. Donoghue puts you right into 1870s San Francisco, walking the streets during a dual outbreak of smallpox and a crippling heat wave; she describes with relish the rotting vegetables in Chinatown, the taste of garlicky frog legs, the leaden feel of the steamy air. Everything in this book stinks. I mean that as a compliment.Also, the characters are fantastic. No black hat/white hats here; all the characters are hustlers, doing what they must to scrape out a living in the New World. Blanche is one of the most complicated, nuanced characters I've read in a long time--I particularly love her reaction to motherhood, a dual horror/wonder that feels so authentic. I could quibble about her being a sex worker who seems to inhabit more of a modern attitude toward it; she is a shameless lover of sex, which I both enjoy as her character plays against type, and question--could she really have thrown off the shackles of Victorian society so easily? But this is beside the point. Blanche isn't a good character, necessarily, but she is flawed and human and utterly real. She makes horrible decisions for which she must bear the consequences, but she takes ownership of those mistakes. She is entirely her own woman, a feminist heroine but not in the ham-handed way that presents her as an angelic figure struggling against the evil patriarchy.The pacing and structure is another interesting choice; instead of being told from beginning to end, it starts late in the narrative, then jumps to the beginning, and then alternates between what would chronologically be the last 1/3rd of the book with the first 2/3rds. I'm not sure it works, entirely; I think this structure kills some of the pacing and might contribute to readers' complaints that it feels overlong. The payoff at the end, though, where the two narrative threads dovetail, makes for an especially gripping ending and lends poignancy to Blanche's feelings. Overall, however, I think the jumbled time structure does more harm than good and is the reason this isn't a full five-star review from me (how I wish for half-stars, because this is certainly better than a four, but not quite a five).I recommend this book if you: like real historical fiction, warts and all; like complicated, multidimensional characters; don't mind some explicit sex scenes (Blanche likes sex, like, A LOT).

Do You like book Frog Music (2014)?

women empowerment, french people, frog legs, and california. I loved reading this story.

3.5 stars. The author's comments at the end might have been the best part.

Good read, too much gratuitous sex. Yuck.



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