Book Review: The Beach House

The Beach HouseThe Beach House by Jane Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nan is an eccentric old woman who lives in Nantucket in huge rambling home. When her investments tank and she is in need of money, she decides to rent out rooms in her home over the summer. Between her two boarders and her son Michael who moves back home she brings together a motley group of people – all of whom are facing major transitions of one kind or another in their lives.

Although this was overall a good story, I had a few issues with it. First of all, Jane Green’s editor still doesn’t think it’s important to check that the American dialogue is authentic. Just like in Swapping Lives, the characters talked using British phrasing and slang. It was worse this time and very distracting. A thirteen year old girl, after getting a babysitting gig exclaims, “I’ve never had a proper job before!” The characters all said proper all the time actually. And one character who was arguing with another said they were having a “row”. It took me out of the story almost every time.

Another problem I had was that when one of the characters ends up being gay, everyone comments that they were not surprised; they always knew that character was gay. But no one ever says why or how they knew that character was gay. The character doesn’t act stereotypically gay so I felt like Green should have delved more into why no one was surprised.

I listened to The Beach House in the car. The book is structured so that it switches among the different characters perspectives every few paragraphs. The narrator wouldn’t pause at all between paragraphs where the character changed and that could get confusing. Other than that I thought the narration was good.

There was a lot of serendipity in the way that everything that happened throughout the book ended up intertwining and it all came together and wrapped up in a neat package at the end. I actually like that sometimes so I was okay with it – especially for a car book, I don’t want to get too upset while I’m driving over a sad ending!

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