The Marriages of Opposites – Alice Hoffman


A fictionalized account of the life of Rachel Pizzarro, the mother of Jacob Abraham Camille Pizzarro, considered one of the fathers of impressionism. To begin with, her story is not that interesting. The life on the exotic island of St. Thomas can hold your attention for only so long. But what really sinks the book is the exceptionally bad writing. It seems like the first draft of a middling book that got published in a hurry. It’s so bad that on multiple occasions, I turned back to check if it had a legitimate publisher (each time I was surprised  it did). With a sketchy story and limited landscape, Hoffman rambles on for 385 excruciating pages. Tells us about a green bitterness in her protagonist’s heart ten times, dreaming of rain fifteen times, pelicans following her twenty times, and the night when turtles come nesting thirty times. Yes, it is that repetitive. Paragraphs start with one thought and then move on a tangent to something else, and then to something else altogether – puzzling the reader. My favorite part, clearly, was the end, when I sighed with relief that I can move on to another book.

Recommendation: Never

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