Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review: Bitter in the Mouth

The most important thing I can say about this book is that it gets much better in the second half. A coming of age story about a southern girl with a unique disorder, Linda can taste words. Every word has a flavor. Listening and speaking can create a whole series of unpleasant tastes. Human conversation becomes a minefield.

To add to these problems Linda's family relations are strained. She has little relationship with her mother, and after her father's death Linda's only real emotional connection is with her uncle Harper. Harper faces his own demons struggling to find acceptance in a town that demonizes homosexuality.

This all sounds like it could make for a good story, but honestly, I found the first half of this book to be rather dull. Tasting words seemed like an unnecessary add-on, and the result was basically that Linda ended up smoking all the time. I nearly abandoned it. Then Truong drops a bomb on the last page of the first section, and the books gets much more interesting. I'm not going to address the nature of what changes; it's much more effective if it's a surprise.

Monique Truong, Bitter in the Mouth (Random House, 2010) ISBN:

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