Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There is a pretty good short story here. Unfortunately, it's a novel. In 1996, I read a book by this author called "The Love Letter." I loved it. This one, not so much.
Eleven year old Fin, having lost both parents, goes to live with his charismatic, beautiful, but capricious and flighty half sister Lady in Greenwich Village in 1964. A lot of reviewers didn't like Lady, but I did, despite her flaws. Lady keeps a trio of male admirers strung along for years as Fin grows into a teenager. One wonders why they stick around for so long, or why Lady keeps tossing them crumbs. Two hundred pages of it is just way too much.
A big problem I had with the book is the mystery narrator. One doesn't find out until way near the end of the novel who this narrator is, and it annoyed me so much, I went to the spoilers at Goodreads to find out ahead of time. Stupid device, in my opinion, to have the story told at a remove by some unidentified speaker who occasionally intrudes with "Fin told me later" or such like.
The end of the novel IS kind of sweet (for the most part), but isn't worth plodding through the rest of the book to get there. If I could give this two and a half stars, I would. It isn't awful, but the fact that it took me nearly a month to make myself finish this short book speaks for itself. The characters are sort of interesting, but not interesting enough. Read "The Love Letter" instead.
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