Thursday, May 31

Book Review: The Box Garden

Title: The Box Garden

Author: Carol Shields

Pages: 213

Summary: Until events run wildly out of hand, Charleen Forrest manages to cope with the uncertainties o a failed marriage, trying to live her own life and raise her son on her frugal income. She is not unaware of the hazards: "family, bank tellers, ex-husbands, landladies, bus drivers ... men on the make who want her to lie back and accept (this is what you need, baby) friends who feel sorry for her." Her resource - fullness is a delight; her uncanny observations and surprising irony reveal a witty, wry edge that is apt to make you laugh out loud.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Beautifully written, and good story overall, but this particular book just didn't connect well with me. I think the biggest issue was that I'm not the intended audience, so a lot of the experiences and observations of the characters wouldn't connect to me in the right way.  Which made it difficult to connect to the characters on an emotional level. They were all well written, complex and were written to be realistic characters, but I couldn't connect to them.

The story itself was again, well written. Beautifully written actually. Carol Shields had some talent there, as she managed to  keep me interested in the story, that wasn't really my cup of tea until the end. I may have had some issues with the book, but the writing kept me going at it to the end.

Another issue I had with the book was that a few things were predictable. Which wasn't a big deal, as the one thing I predicted about the book wasn't a big reveal for me, or even an important part of the story, at least for me. But nonetheless, it was predictable, and I think it could have worked, without this aspect of the book. I did think the "climax" of the book didn't fit in with the rest of the story. It felt awkward and just didn't work right. If it were a separate story, than I think it could have worked, or if this was a series of connected short stories it could have worked, but I felt it didn't fit in with the rest of the story - it seemed to have affected the stories natural flow

Would I recommend it to read: I would. The book was well written, but I think it reaches a different audience level than what I'd place myself in.

What to read next: Unless,  Quartet in Autumn and the book whose name I can't remember.


  1. The ending really took an unusually adventurous tone, didn't it?

    The next book to read is Shield's Small Ceremonies, if you haven't already. It is the story of the other sister, Judith the biographer. It's not connected, other than it's the same characters being mentioned and written around the same time.

    1. I may have to try that one out too. Ive also been thinking about her short story collections, any thoughts on those?