A God in Ruins

Written by Kate Atkinson

A God in Ruins


I’ve been in a total reading rut this year.  Friends ask me what I’m reading, and all I can think is, “Meh.”  Am I just choosing the wrong books?  Or am just in a mood?  Who knows.  I feel like it’s number one.  I hope it’s option one because if it isn’t, why ask my opinion.  I got this book from my dad who got it fro my sister.  His comment was, “It’s….interesting”.  So I have hope that my problem is book choice.

What It’s About

Ted was a bomber pilot in WWII.  This is both his story and the story of those whose lives he affected.

The Good

Ted.  Ted is what is good about this story.  Atkinson created a complex character who quivers off the page.  At her best, he stands in front of you, wondering what you make of his story.

The Not-So-Good

This book made me want to read Catch-22 again.  A God in Ruins was evocative of Heller’s classic (for a reason) novel, but never came close to delivering the same resonance.  At its best, it was muddy and convoluted, but it never delivered on the promise of clarity that Heller did.

In addition to making me wish I was reading Catch-22, this book confused me.  I really didn’t like the way in which Atkinson jumped from time to time.  It’s one thing when it’s sections or chapters (although I’m kind of over that too by now).  It’s a whole other when it’s paragraph to paragraph.  Lady, I don’t want to have to work that hard.  Call me a philistine, but tell me a story that doesn’t take so much work.

Final Thoughts

This is the kind of book that made me question my intelligence.  I promise I’m not giving anything away here, but the very end made me say out loud, “What the f— just happened?”  My dog hid under the bed.  I spend two weeks reading this (I average 4 days a book), and my payoff was utter and absolute confusion about what happened and the entire point of the book.  I mean, come on, Ted deserved far better than that.

I have another of Atkinson’s books on my shelf.  Probably from my sister.  I’m probably giving it back to her.