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madbkwm

madbkwm

Inside - Alix Ohlin This book was really close to a five star rating. Ultimately I did not feel like there was quite enough differentiation between the characters and so it ended up as a four star.

As an amateur actor (and especially after just finishing Micheal Green's Art of Coarse acting), I liked some of Anne's comments on the craft: "Acting was about listening, one of her teachers had told her: you focused on the other person in the scene and let them dictate to you. You reacted." Similarly, Anne is just as self-absorbed as we all can be: "it wasn't that she was naive or trusting; only that nothing was as real to her as herself."

I liked Ohlin's description of the subtle ways we communicate with those we love: "It was like they were having a conversation. His leaving and her not calling when he was reachable, were remarks, just as surely as if they'd been talking it through." and "There is a difference between the facts of a person and the truth of him." and "if you have nothing to mourn, then nothing in your life's worth anything."

I did not like the parallels between Mitch's escape from Martine and Tug's escape from Marcie. It was just too simplistic that both men felt the need to travel and explore and in doing so ruined their relationships. I did like that Tug's narrative was not truthful and that he had seen his parents and Marcie during the time he was sleeping with Grace without her knowledge.

I also did not like the parallel between Tug's suicide and Thomasie's suicide. Mitch has not yet quit his job (but he is avoiding individual therapy); I don't like that these characters keep going through the same situation. I realize that Ohlin might be making some comment on the universality of and lack of individuality in humanity, but instead it comes off as an inability to be creative with her plot.

Okay, as an aside I was also really annoyed that the breaking point for Grace and Mitch's marriage was that he was masturbating to porn mags. She is a therapist (first of all) and so should understand how the male brain works (need for sexual release with or without a partner). This puritan attitude also did not seem to mesh (in my mind) withe the fact that she had previously had an abortion (I know these things are really related, but they kind of are and didn't seem consistent to me).

I was also annoyed with the phrase "looking at something just to the right of her shoulder." Anytime a character did not make eye contact with another, she was always looking just past the shoulder. Come on, just say they are not making eye contact

Overall very poignant, witty, and compelling.