I’m beginning to notice how some authors change as they age. An author I love is suddenly focusing exclusively on a life stage which I don’t really relate to. About 10 years ago Nancy Thayer suddenly started writing the Hot Flash Club books. I started one, but it just didn’t hold my interest. Years later she came out of that period and went back to writing the inter-generational family dramas that I enjoyed reading.
I’ve been noticing the same thing with Jane Green. I loved her when she was writing the London girl chick lit. She wrote funny and realistic characters and I enjoyed reading about the single life in London. Then she seemed to move on to the dynamics of marriage and those books were good, but I didn’t like them quite as much as the first books.
Now she’s moved to a stage where she’s only pumping out overly dramatic tales about the hard lives of Connecticut housewives. I’m sure somewhere there’s a market for that, but I’m not it. Isn’t part of writing about using your imagination? If all your characters sound the same and it’s hard to tell one book from another and they are set in the exact world you inhabit…. Well, I think her books are suffering.
Another Piece of my Heart is another overwrought story of a family in crisis. A middle-aged suburban part-time interior decorator (there’s always at least one in her books now) and the crisis of a really difficult step daughter. The characters weren’t realistic and were so similar to her past books that it left you feeling that she really didn’t put much effort into this book. It wasn’t such a bad premise, but it just wasn’t written well. Is she trying to audition to be a writer on a Shonda Rhimes drama? Is that why she’s gone so far into the soap opera plots?
Thankfully I got the book out of the library, so I didn’t spend any money on this book. After the last book of hers I read (and I read a lot last year) I vowed to give her a rest, but I couldn’t resist the lure of the new release section at the library.
Jane, I used to love you. Let me know when you go back to being the bright and funny writer you used to be. Until then I’ll assume you’re recycling characters and plot to pump out another quick novel to finance your CT suburban lifestyle.