Second Bookses

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True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters

The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters: A Novel - Elisabeth Robinson Browsing through the used and clearance section of Barnes and Noble, I came upon a book with the interesting title of The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters. The short book blurb and author bio on the cover did nothing for me, but I was drawn in by a comment by Jay Mcinerney on the book jacket and decided to give it a whirl.::: The Plot :::The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters is a fictionalized version of Elisabeth Robinson, a former producer and screenwriter. In real life, she did actually try to get a movie version of Don Quixote made with Robin Williams, and her sister really did have cancer.In the book version, Elisabeth gets to do and say all the things she couldn't in real life. Doctors who she feels aren't given their all for her sister's care get faxes and emails telling them what she thinks, as do Hollywood insiders. She sends long missives to her ex-boyfriend discussing the demise of their relationship, and they elicit a response from him.The entire story of Olivia Hunt (Robinson's alter ego), her sister Maddie who never left their Ohio hometown, ex-boyfriend Michael the artist, her dysfunctional parents, brother, best friend Tina, and the various Hollywood players is told in the form of written communications: faxes, emails, and the old-fashioned letters, all from Olivia's perspective. There is no other perspective than hers as we read the story of her sister Maddie's cancer and the trials and tribulations of taking a movie from idea to premiere, including all the backstabbing and politics Hollywood has to offer.::: What I Didn't Like :::The format of the book made it very hard for me to find a rhythm and get involved with the characters. Until about halfway through the book, I didn't feel at all involved with the characters or their lives simply because there was no actual interaction, no letters being exchanged. It may as well have been Olivia's diary that I was reading.My other problem was the use of Don Quixote as the film Olivia was struggling to bring to the screen. The metaphor of Quixote's false visions and hopes seemed far too obvious, almost like clunking the reader over the head with "This is the theme of my novel. Get it? Get it?"::: What I Loved :::For a first-time novelist, Robinson may have taken a while to find her stride, but her prose, even in the form of letters, is somehow able to involve the reader with the characters by the second half of the book. Sure, the one-offs to various Hollywood players are great fun, but it's Olivia's letters to her sister and ex-boyfriend that mean the most to this book. The amount of soul-searching and pain Olivia puts into these letters must have been very cathartic for Robinson, because the reader feels every last drop of anger, sadness, frustration, and hope.The ending is predictable, and yet I would challenge everyone reading this book to keep a dry eye throughout. First-time novel or no, this book is an excellent read once you plow through the first half or so, and I look forward to reading Robinson's sophomore effort.This review previously published on Epinions:

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