The Sugar Queen represents my third attempt to establish a relationship with Sarah Addison Allen. Since our book discussion group chose this as our November novel, I clenched my teeth and promised myself I would try...to like...to tolerate...at the very least... to complete this assignment. Well, once I got past the sophomoric prose, and suspended disbelief, The Sugar Queen and I are getting along just fine.
If you have been following this blog, you know that magical realism (MR) ranks as a favorite genre. For me, the South American writers cannot be topped. So what's the difference between what Allen writes and something like Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate? Esquivel has a lighter touch. She eases the MR elements into her work seamlessly, and readers seldom question the fact that one or more characters may have some sort of amplified power. In Chocolat, that spicy tale made into a fine film starring Johnny Depp, the main character has the power of influence. She changes people. She changes places. She is like the wind - unpredictable, dangerous and exciting. The MR gives texture to these stories.
For Allen the MR controls the story arc leading to a rather contrived plot. But yet, I am enjoying the curious tale of Josey, a twenty something woman with a stash of candy and romance novels in her closet. Also in her closet is a thirty something run-away woman named Della Lee who is determined to lead Josie out of her mundane existence into a brighter world. This is a coming out of the closet story, but not in the way we generally think about that term. In this case, the closet represents all those things that paralyze people and keep them from stepping out into more risky territory. I am anxious to see how others in our discussion group react. As for me, I seldom read a book more than once, but I think I'll buzz through Like Water for Chocolate again, and maybe put the film in my Netflix queue.
Check out the EVENTS tab for info on two upcoming author events.
Thanks for stopping by.