Monday, June 20, 2022

Book Review: There There by Tommy Orange

There There by Tommy Orange book cover and review
There There is an okay book. It is interesting that I read There There shortly after I read Disappearing Earth. Because I had many of the same feelings about both books.

I'm not usually a fan of short stories. And books that have multiple narrators, jumping from one perspective to another that tell just a small piece of a seemingly unrelated story just seem like short stories. I did feel like Orange did a better job of ramping up the tension and showing relationships though.

We are told multiple stories by different Native Americans, and they end up culminating at a powwow at the Oakland Coliseum. We learn early on that some of these characters want to rob the powwow, and guns are involved.

I had a bit of trouble keeping the characters straight, as we jump back and forth among them, but not too bad. I understand the creativity of the way the story is told, and the writing is excellent, but just not my thing. As far as the Native American experience, I guess I got some of that. But I've read plenty of books about life with drugs, alcoholism, poverty, and lack of parental figures that didn't involve Native Americans, so it didn't seem that unique.

The part that I really don't understand is why there couldn't have been one more chapter that finished the story. I think that authors want you to decide for yourself. But, you know what? I'm not a writer. The author is the storyteller, so tell the story! I don't understand why an author would think it would make the book worse if they finished the story and let the reader know what they, the author, thought happened to these characters!! (Stepping off my soapbox now.)

Using multiple narrators for the audio version was very effective. They all did a great job. I had actually decided I wasn't going to finish listening. I was only going to listen until my next audiobook came in (for which I have waited months.) But, not only did it not come through, it got canceled for some reason. Ugh. Well, that's another story, and I'm glad I finished There There. It got better as the book went on.

Published by Knopf, 2018, Random House Audio
Audiobook obtained from the library
304 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

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1 comment:

  1. Too bad this one didn't work for you. I really liked it, but can see your point about another chapter or epilogue to wrap it up.


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