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Ratings and Book Reviews (1 2 star ratings
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2.5 out of 5
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    Unengaging.

    First, my comments regarding this work as a novel: I feel as though this book should at least get a 3-star rating on the writing alone, but I just didn't like it enough. It took me a little while to 'get into it'. I can't pick out a specific issue with the writing; the best I can come up with is that it seems to be written technically well, but it feels a bit cold and detached. It didn't help that I found the character of Will immediately unlikeable. Even within the first few pages of his story, his character seemed emotionally immature and non-committal, and with questionable attitudes about the objectification of women. As the story continued it also became strongly evident that this was a man with an unhealthy need to be in charge within any relationship - including those of friend, teacher or lover. The discussions he encouraged in the classroom were certainly dynamic and for the most part were successfully engaging his students in a learning process, but they were also quite manipulative and controlling. I found it interesting his responsibility and role were actually challenged by his students later in the story. I felt the two other main characters, Gilad and Marie, behaved and thought much as you would expect them to given the context, but were not as strongly fleshed out as the character of Will. However as a reader I also felt the characters of Gilad and Marie weren't really there to tell their own stories, but rather to reinforce a particular image of Will. I felt as if I was being 'pushed' all the way through to the climax of the story, to accept Will as something of a misunderstood victim. This I could not swallow - it grated. Second, my comments regarding this work as a roman a clef: I did try to read this as a novel first, without thinking too much about the author's history. I knew there had been some chatter about the author having a relationship with a student, but I waited until finishing the novel before following it up in detail. Having now looked at that aspect more closely, the whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth for many reasons. However I think I will leave it at that for my comments today, and will now check out other reader's comments with interest.
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