While I wasn’t born in Baltimore, I’ve called it my home for the majority of my life. How had I not heard of Anne Tyler before my 31st birthday? As it were, I discovered her through Goodreads with mostly glowing reviews. I was super psyched to read her new book (A Spool of Blue Thread), and compare her outlook of Charm City to my own experiences.
To say that my expectations were high is an understatement. Baltimore houses the eclectic, the artsy, the weird, the wonderful – even at times outlandish. Many different worlds are forced to collide here. One block harbors your elitist, where the very next block is busy devouring an ever shrinking middle class, and then the neighboring block to both is spitting out the junkies and derelicts. We are mostly forced to coincide, and I kind of like it that way.
Judging the book by its cover, there was something cool and nostalgic and generally pleasing to me. I thought of all the meanings that could possibly be behind a spool of blue thread and how it relates to family life.
I’m not cool enough to get on any advance reading lists or anything, but after eagerly waiting for its release – I jumped right in. The water was warm and nice but got frigid far too fast! Boredom was the culprit behind taking four months to finish – but I forced myself to, hoping the ending would redeem the slow middle.
I can’t say their was anything special to her writing technique. The setting was sentimental to me, but surely not to anyone without a special interest in Baltimore. The story line paled in comparison even to my own life which made it difficult to hold interest. The characters never grew, and remained flawed throughout. Flawed is fine – we are all imperfect creatures…but no growth?
The story was a very typical, mundane, look into a family and how they interact with each other given they all have different personalities and outlooks on life. That’s the beginning and end of it…unfortunately.
As a Baltimorean, I’m determined to give Anne Tyler another shot. To be continued!!!!