Friday, March 8, 2013

Autobiography of Us - Aria Beth Sloss

Summary: Coming of age in the patrician neighborhood of Pasadena, California during the 1960s, Rebecca Madden and her beautiful, reckless friend Alex dream of lives beyond their mothers' narrow expectations. Their struggle to define themselves against the backdrop of an American cultural revolution unites them early on, until one sweltering evening the summer before their last year of college, when a single act of betrayal changes everything.  Decades later, Rebecca’s haunting meditation on the past reveals the truth about that night, the years that followed, and the friendship that shaped her.

Autobiography of Us is an achingly beautiful portrait of a decades-long bond. A rare and powerful glimpse into the lives of two women caught between repression and revolution, it casts new light on the sacrifices, struggles, victories and defeats of a generation. (Summary and image from, book given free for an honest review)

My Review:  I’m still not sure what I just read.  It was too disjointed, and for most of the important parts of the book, I felt like the author either expected too much of her readers’ abilities to read her mind, depended on scenes that had been cut out (and which she had forgotten that she’d cut), or that she had an overabundance of faith in her storytelling.  That told, the sentences themselves were beautifully constructed.

The two main characters seemed utterly void of redeeming qualities. Sloss tries to paint the picture of an epic friendship; a friendship to last through the ages, despite betrayal, lies, life, the loss of anything in common, and instead left me feeling depressed, emptier, and extraordinarily grateful for the dear friends I have in my life – none of whom would behave as these two women did toward one another.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it takes more than a masterful stroke of the brush to create a masterpiece.  Perhaps in a few novels this is an author I’d revisit.

Sum it Up: The story of two women tied together through their lives.

My rating:  2.25 stars.

For the Sensitive Reader: Some language, a brief description of an assault, and one of the characters chooses to get an abortion.

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