I’m happy I finished reading The Parallel Apartments because I did not think I would. I still remember it was a review on the Entertainment Weekly website that made me put this on my wish list. A book of interconnected stories including a would be serial killer who is afraid of blood. Why not? After all the YA last week I wanted something a little different so I thought hey, let’s read this one at long last. And I got to tell you I did not think I was going to finish.
I hate not liking books. I usually just say not my cup of tea and I’ll tell you why…
Mostly because I believe that too much of anything is just that, too much. Also that there’s a line between eccentric and charming characters (and people) and pathetic losers. This book goes over both those lines for me.
(Probably no spoilers below but some definite adult content mentioned but trust me it’s mentioned in the book.)
Problems. Everyone in this book has serious problems they are dealing with and (with the exception of Murphy the wanna be serial killer) all those problems revolve around sex. Seriously, I wanted to yell at some of them stop thinking about sex and go out and do something! There is teen sex, accidental incest, endless masturbation, sex within a relationship that bordered on non-consensual, a pregnant 65-year old who was also at one time a pregnant 13 year old and a woman who sleeps with everything that moves because she wants a baby.
Okay the woman with the massive debt problem is kind of funny but then she gets out of it by becoming Madame to a robot stud. Oh- and she’s had relations with her dog. I suppose I should have known where this was going when young Justine listened to a ex-prostitute dying of AIDS talk about her abusive pimp who she barely escaped from and thought, Hey, that sounds cool, I’ll become a prostitute. When the want- to -be killer is the only one that doesn’t make you cringe that’s a problem for me.
And then there was Justine. Dear. Her, her mother and grandmother make up the main story in this book. She leaves a bad relationship in New York to try to find out the truth about her family. Good start right? Then she talks to one person and spends the rest of the book lying in a bed eating, masturbating (until she meets a character with both sex organs which helps with her own sexual confusion nicely enough). Oh and whining about not wanting to be pregnant while getting more and more pregnant. If I was supposed to like Justine I really needed her to be more together and less of a mess at least by the end of the book. Maybe it’s a personal thing but I really couldn’t stand her. She didn’t seem to change or grow or have any desire to do either.
Oh and then there was the end! Just when I thought it was looking up picking up speed and closing up stories (Yeah! Ending!) there’s a sense that everything might actually be alright that’s only burst by an intricately described ripped from the headlines act of violence that I had to speed through. And just when you adjust to that there’s a twist all wrapped up in an unbelievable lie that shouldn’t work and no one should rightly believe but of course they do because even then I was giving them too much credit.
Granted the story had a nice flow and it was easy to follow despite time jumps from many decades and multiple POV’s . But I thought it was also about three hundred pages too long and not be one that I’d recommend.