- Fizzy Thoughts: The Whole World Over

The Whole World Over

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Whole World Over
Julia Glass
2006
556 pages


Three Junes made me do it. After reading that book, I wanted to read another Julia Glass book. And when I read that Fenno (the son and main character in Part Two of Three Junes) makes an appearance in this book, I was sold.

Reading the back of the book led me to think this story would be mainly about Greenie Duquette, a New York pastry chef who takes a job as chef to the governor of New Mexico. Greenie moves herself and her young son George west, leaving behind her troubled marriage and her husband Alan. However, Greenie and Alan are just two of many characters. In the first part of the book, a lot of time is spent with each character. As the book moves forward, it moves more frequently between characters. So, even though I knew all the characters, I would still have to stop and change gears quite often. Sometimes it got a little jarring.

In the end, I really liked this book, but I didn't like the characters. Here is a brief who's who, along with why I didn't like them:

Greenie - the chef who leaves her husband behind. Once she gets to New Mexico, she isn't so likable. By the end of the book, I'd had it with her. And her and Alan have some fidelity issues. This is goin to sound awful, but I wish they'd divorced. I didn't like them together.
Alan - her judgemental husband with a big secret. And, if he only had a few clients left in his therapy business, how was he affording rent and food in New York? Just a minor little detail.
George - their son. He's kinda cute, kinda not.
Walter - Greenie's best friend in New York. Not a bad guy, but he's a little priggish. That's not quite the right word, because I wouldn't condone a lot of what he put up with either, but his manner of speech is priggish and just a little off.
Gordie - let's just say he's a slut and leave it at that. Although come to think of it, that could describe Walter, at times.
Saga/Emily - recovering from a head trauma and trying to find her way. I actually liked her.
Fenno - I still like Fenno. Even more after this book, although his role is pretty small.

There are lots of other minor characters, too. And I didn't care for most of them. Everyone was just whiny enough (gee, like me in this post) to bug me. And most of them make bad decisions in the course of the book. I wanted to slap them all upside the head and yell, "What are you thinking?!?"

But still, I liked the book. Go figure. I like the author's writing style. And how she makes you think about the characters. Two days later and I'm still trying to figure out why they bother me so much.

So I have both Three Junes and The Whole World Over. If you've been dying to read these books, and you live in the US (sorry, I'm feeling cheap...can you say media mail?), let me know and I'll send them to you.

2 comment(s):

lisamm said...

3 Junes goes on another journey, I love it!!

Anonymous said...

I'm watching your blog for books to get when I will be home for the future 4 months with my baby. (This sounds so bizarre to say.) I loved Three Junes so this book will surely interest me.
Angie

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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