Book Review: The End of the Point by Elizabeth Graver (DNF)
March 20, 2013 10 Comments
The End of the Point: What it is about
What the publishers say: “A place out of time, Ashaunt Point—a tiny finger of land jutting into Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts—has provided sanctuary and anchored life for generations of the Porter family, who summer along its remote, rocky shore. But in 1942, the U.S. Army arrives on the Point, bringing havoc and change. That summer, the two older Porter girls—teenagers Helen and Dossie—run wild. The children’s Scottish nurse, Bea, falls in love. And youngest daughter Janie is entangled in an incident that cuts the season short and haunts the family for years to come.
As the decades pass, Helen and then her son Charlie return to the Point, seeking refuge from the chaos of rapidly changing times. But Ashaunt is not entirely removed from events unfolding beyond its borders. Neither Charlie nor his mother can escape the long shadow of history—Vietnam, the bitterly disputed real estate development of the Point, economic misfortune, illness, and tragedy.
An unforgettable portrait of one family’s journey through the second half of the twentieth century, The End of the Point artfully probes the hairline fractures hidden beneath the surface of our lives and traces the fragile and enduring bonds that connect us. With subtlety and grace, Elizabeth Graver illuminates the powerful legacy of family and place, exploring what we are born into, what we pass down, preserve, cast off or willingly set free.”
The End of the Point: What I thought
This book started really good, with the story of the Porter family spending their summer at Ashaunt Point, as they have always done. But with the Second World War well on its way, there are soldiers everywhere and everything is different from normal. Bea, the nanny, falls in love with a soldier. This part of the story was wonderful. It felt very much like Atonement by Ian McEwan, with the same atmosphere of a well-to-do family in wartime. The children and the staff of the family become more and more acquainted with the soldiers, which leads to an incident, which is hushed down. Most of the story is in Bea’s perspective.
After about 100 pages, the story shifts forward in time and changes narrator. This time it’s Helen, the family’s oldest daughter, who in the form of letters to her parents, writes about her time in Switzerland. This was very different from the first part of the book, and I hoped the story would pick up again and deliver the lazy, sunshine atmosphere from the first part.
However, the book then skips another decade and moves on to focus on Charlie, Helen’s son. He was not present in the earlier parts of the book and therefore, it was almost as if I was starting a whole new story. It seems he has been taking drugs. This was such a contrast with the much more relaxed and easy feel of the earlier stories, that I didn’t want to continue reading, as the book now was nothing like how it started off.
I think the issue for me was that the first part of the book was really good, and I wanted the story to linger there, or at least bring back the same feel in the rest of the book, but that didn’t happen.
Rating: No rating, did not finish the book
Number of pages: 352 (read to page 160)
First published: 2013, March 5th
I got this: from the publishers, Harper (Uncorrected proof)
Genre: historical fiction