Thursday, January 10, 2008

Die a Little by Megan Abbott (audiobook read by Ellen Archer)

I got halfway through Die a Little (disc 3 of the unabridged audiobook read by Ellen Archer) before I gave up on it. Megan Abbott can definitely write, so I'll probably try another of her books (specifically the one I've heard the most about, Queenpin), but I'm marking this one up under the lost-time column.

When Lora King's brother Bill marries the mysterious Alice Steele after a quickie courtship, Lora begins to notice that her new sister-in-law doesn't seem to have any history. Currently working in wardrobe in Hollywood, Alice has a friend named Lois that seems to tell Lora a lot about their past together (as does a certain photo on a certain playing card), and Lora takes it upon herself to find out just who this woman is that her brother has married.

Abbott has set Die a Little in the 1950s, and for good reason. A lot of the goings-on are not quite so shocking to modern readers, and enveloping them in a less permissive time makes them a little easier to take as such. (I mean, who in Hollywood these days doesn't have some naked photos just waiting for the right offer to surface?)

My main problem with Die a Little is, unfortunately, with Lora herself. I simply didn't find her worthy of being a protagonist. I suppose the fault could lie with Archer's reading, but I don't think that's so in this case. The events and supporting characters around Miss King are, for the most part, intriguing — especially given the time period — but they do nothing to make her more interesting. And if falling into bed with a man she's just met doesn't make her interesting, nothing will.

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