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Beth: I don't know if with age comes wisdom or intolerance. I'm hoping it's the former because I really don't want to "grow up" to be a crotchety old lady. But I have been finding myself actually giving up on books halfway through. I used to be a come hell or high water kind of reader. Now, not so much. In the last month or two, I have slogged to the midpoint of at least three novels before completely abandoning all hope of finishing. The latest entry into this dubious list is Always Something There to Remind Me.
In general, I enjoy Harbison's books so I was quite excited to find this one at my local library. It's a typical tale of long lost love (of the high school variety) and I think the predictability of it left me anxious to spend my time and energy elsewhere (I think this is where age and wisdom come into play). For some reason, Harbison decided to change the narrative point of view when Erin Edwards, the main character, is in the present and the past. I found it a strange literary device to use but understood how third-person narrative would convey a sense of distance. However, I find people who refer to themselves in the third person as somewhat scary and possessed of a tenuous hold on their reality so the author's strategy in her narrative choices bothered me. Also, at the risk of sounding like a total prude, I was quite turned off by teenage oral sex. I attribute this to the fact that I have a teenage daughter and perhaps those scenes were a bit too real for my tender mother's heart.
Regardless of my Puritan viewpoint, I found myself at page 200, just not caring anymore because I knew how it was going to end, skimming to the end and getting the book off my bedside table. Harbison is a competent writer who has written some wonderfully entertaining books. (I particularly enjoyed Hope in a Jar.) But, Always Something There to Remind Me was just, well, far to reminiscent a familiar story line. I was begging that Erin Edwards would find out that her one true love, the object of her sentimental brooding, was a complete loser and a lout and she'd realize that she was better off with the great, successful, and caring man who wants to marry her. Now that would have been interesting. Oh well, better luck next time.