by Rachel Hulin
I was surprised by how much I liked the format. The entire story is told through letters or emails between twins – Harry and Matilda. I would have thought this structure would annoy me, but it worked in this book. I’m also surprised that I never once thought of the effort involved in telling a complete, nuanced story in this manner. But now that I am thinking about it, I am very impressed.
Harry and Matilda’s personalities leap off the pages of this book. They’re quirky and strange. They live very different lives from each other and from me. I found the whole thing to be refreshing.
So why did I give it 3 stars?
For me, 3 stars denotes an enjoyable book. There’s nothing wrong with a 3 star book. Nothing that would keep me from saying, “Yeah, you should read it. I enjoyed it.”
But in this case, I dropped the rating from 4 to 3 stars in the last third of the book. It was in the last third that the story changed for me in a fundamental way. I enjoyed the simple, almost farcical tone of the beginning. And then the end just felt different. The letters changed. The story changed. Maybe I just didn’t see it earlier on. But it felt like Hulin looked up from her keyboard and worried that her creative writing teacher wouldn’t think it was deep enough. So she writes something that will be more “important”, gets stuck and abruptly ends it.
It’s still an enjoyable book. And I’d definitely be interested to hear what you thought after you read it.