I’ve been thinking about the last book I read, The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall, and was trying to determine what it was about this book that just didn’t work for me, aside from the fact that it was too long, and I think I’ve figured it out. I was walking past one of my many bookshelves (thanks to IKEA - and, of course, my husband!) and noticed a title that we read for my book club in the summer, On Beauty by Zadie Smith, and it suddenly hit me - The Best Kind of People had so many similarities to Smith’s book that I felt I’d already read it! In these books, both husbands teach at a school or university, both have sexual involvement with their students, and both have daughters who attend their schools. Both daughters get caught up in the drama surrounding the accusations against their fathers. Both wives are nurses working at the local hospitals and both have been with their husbands since they were young women. The settings are very similar, and while the main issues in one book are concerned with wealth and privilege and the other deals with race, they are both issues commonly explored in literature. The main difference is that The Best Kind of People is quite serious, while On Beauty is more satirical and humourous. Of the two, I think I preferred Smith’s novel, but this may only be because I read it first. Who knows how I would have felt if I’d read Whittall’s novel first?
That’s all for tonight. Happy Halloween!!
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