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Preview: Comments on Shelf Life: The Post-Birthday World, by Lionel Shriver--a revi...

Comments on Shelf Life: The Post-Birthday World, by Lionel Shriver--a review





Updated: 2018-02-07T22:14:27.815-08:00

 



I agree. I like that there was no clear cut better...

2009-03-28T14:04:00.000-07:00

I agree. I like that there was no clear cut better choice. At first I thought Ramsey was a mistake, but then later in the book I started to hope Irina had chosen him over Lawrence. By the end, I wasn't sure who I liked more.

I also reviewed this book, you can find mine here.

Kim



Well, I went back and finished the book and, while...

2007-06-13T13:59:00.000-07:00

Well, I went back and finished the book and, while I enjoyed the second half more than the first, I still felt the characters were disappointingly one dimensional. I felt like the author was having a little too much fun with the cleverness of writing parallel stories and didn't really do enough character development. And I didn't really like either Irina.



Liz--I thought the snooker stuff was really boring...

2007-05-18T14:40:00.000-07:00

Liz--I thought the snooker stuff was really boring, too, but I actually liked that she chose a profession for her "attractive" character that was so unattractive to both Irina and probably most of her audience. I put "attractive" in quotes because I didn't think Ramsey was attractive, but I thought it was really interesting that Shriver (whether intentionally or not) made him sexually compelling to Irina, but not so appealing in the abstract. I liked that neither man was very appealing, because I thought the whole book hinged on the fact that her choices were not perfect--that it was sort of about how neither of these stories turns out to be very positive, because life throws in curves like illness, bad money management, career ups and downs, etc.

In my book group, we decided that Shriver did sort of come down on the side of Irina's choosing Ramsey--choosing the impulsive, visceral feelings that Ramsey stirred up rather than staying with the seemingly safer Lawrence (maybe because Shriver did something similar in real life).

But it was interesting that nobody in my book group would have done the same as Irina. None of us found Ramsey appealing enough. We all have kids, so we look at relationships differently now, too.

My book group was also harsh about Irina's relationship with Lawrence, though. I remember someone saying that Irina's relationship with Lawrence was as safe and sexually unexciting as it was because she was with him because he was a stand-in for the father that left her. Which, without spoiling the end of the story, is interesting if you consider THAT when you consider how Lawrence behaves toward Irina.

Okay, probably more than you wanted to discuss, but anyway--though I felt the book was flawed, it provoked one of the livelier book group discussions we've ever had!



I'm halfway through this book and seriously consid...

2007-05-18T09:29:00.000-07:00

I'm halfway through this book and seriously considering putting it down. Althought the basic plot is interesting i'm finding the couples' conversations deadly and the way she writes Ramsey's lines really distracting. And nobody can care that much about the finer points of snooker! I also agree that both men are unappealing as is Irina most of the time. The fact that Shriver is relatively young keeps leaping out at me in the way she describes relationships. Oh well, can't like them all.



lesley--you're right, the covers are similar. I l...

2007-05-12T09:30:00.000-07:00

lesley--you're right, the covers are similar. I looked it up and they are by two different designers...but clearly there's a trend here! Hope you enjoy the book :)



Another fan of Sliding Doors here, so now my inter...

2007-05-11T19:10:00.000-07:00

Another fan of Sliding Doors here, so now my interest in this book is piqued. I've seen it in the bookstore and the cover art reminded me of the cover for Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - I wonder if they were done by the same artist?



bookfool--I just got back from my book group meeti...

2007-05-09T23:13:00.000-07:00

bookfool--I just got back from my book group meeting, where we talked about The Post-Birthday World. It was a great discussion, and everyone really liked how Shriver didn't paint a rosy picture of either of the choices that her main character makes--life's just not that clear-cut...



What a wonderful review! Before I got to your com...

2007-05-09T17:46:00.000-07:00

What a wonderful review! Before I got to your comment about Sliding Doors, I was already mentally comparing the book with the movie. I do love Sliding Doors but I like the idea of things not being as clear-cut. I've just added this one to my wish list. Thanks!



sfp--well, for me, the subject matter of Post-Birt...

2007-05-08T16:50:00.000-07:00

sfp--well, for me, the subject matter of Post-Birthday World was a little easier to handle, but I'm sort of attracted and repelled at the same time by the idea of Kevin...



I have Kevin on my list at the library (I think I'...

2007-05-08T14:20:00.000-07:00

I have Kevin on my list at the library (I think I'm six or seven at this point), but based on your review, I think this is the one I ought to be reading.



Stefanie--this is a really thought-provoking book,...

2007-05-08T07:20:00.000-07:00

Stefanie--this is a really thought-provoking book, and it also made me want to read her earlier book, We Need to Talk About Kevin, though I'm not sure I'm going to go there, because the subject matter is pretty disturbing...



I've not read Shriver before and your review of th...

2007-05-08T06:05:00.000-07:00

I've not read Shriver before and your review of the book has me interested.



Robin--The movie is a really nice romance. Hope y...

2007-05-07T17:56:00.000-07:00

Robin--The movie is a really nice romance. Hope you enjoy both!



You really sparked my interest in this book, so I'...

2007-05-07T14:07:00.000-07:00

You really sparked my interest in this book, so I'm adding it to the list. I'd better put Sliding Doors on my queue because I haven't seen it and it sounds good, too! Thanks!



Iliana--I liked Sliding Doors, too--I even cut my ...

2007-05-07T13:47:00.000-07:00

Iliana--I liked Sliding Doors, too--I even cut my hair into something resembling the short cut Gwyneth Paltrow had in the movie, but of course it didn't look as good on me. (That's always a fools errand for me, anyway...)

Hope you like the book! Shriver's a really interesting writer.



That was a wonderful review. Plus you mentioned "S...

2007-05-07T13:09:00.000-07:00

That was a wonderful review. Plus you mentioned "Sliding Doors", which is a film I really liked so that's it, the book goes on the list :)