Review: Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

Alexis:

Clock Dance delves into the life of Willa, exploring her life over several different stages. The beginning of the book focuses on Willa at age 11, 21, and 41. The latter, longer half of the book focuses on her at age 61, when she suddenly decides to fly across the country to take care of a woman’s daughter.

What I liked: I really enjoyed the first three sections of the book. I think Tyler did a phenomenal job describing her life and her thoughts at her different life stages. I especially enjoyed learning about Willa’s family at age 11; it was poignant and explored her family’s dynamics.

The image of a saguaro cactus pops up several times in the story, hence the front cover. I enjoyed the recurring imagery and I thought it served the book well. I also adored the descriptions of Airplane the dog!

What I disliked: I wasn’t a huge fan of Willa’s storyline at age 61. Unlike the first three sections, Tylers’ writing was rambling. Other than Willa, I never felt a great connection to any of the other characters, and even though Tyler’s dialogue was on point, the characters felt too flat.

Derek and Peter were also super douchey. And Willa was such a passive character. The last section was supposed to be when Willa stands up for herself, and makes a life-altering decision. But I never really felt that. I appreciated that this is a book that focuses on the life of the always complacent woman, but I wanted the life-altering decision to be bigger.

I ended up skimming the ending because I couldn’t stand reading another description of Denise hobbling on her crutches, or Willa cooking something, or Cheryl watching TV. Also, a nine-year-old named Cheryl? Maybe I’m just being picky, but overall, the fourth section didn’t do it for me.

VERDICT:

First 3 sections: 5 stars

Last section: 1 star

Total: 3 stars

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