Why I DNFd Wearing Paper Dresses (by Anne Brinsden) – Kind of, but not really a review

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Disclaimer: the fact that This novel was sent to me by Bloomsbury publishing does not impact my review/ post/ opinion in any way shape or form.

Heyo Bookaholics!

Kind of, but not really a review…

The cover of this novel is gorgeous! The story sounds interesting and thrilling. I love reading Aussie fiction, especially those set in the bush and from the perspective of people who’ve lived in the outback. Although, the writing style of this novel, perspective and speed of the story isn’t really my cup of tea.

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You can talk about living in the Mallee. And you can talk about a Mallee tree. And you can talk about the Mallee itself: a land and a place full of red sand and short stubby trees. Silent skies. The undulating scorch of summer plains. Quiet, on the surface of things.

But Elise wasn't from the Mallee, and she knew nothing of its ways.

Discover the world of a small homestead perched on the sunburnt farmland of northern Victoria. Meet Elise, whose urbane 1950s glamour is rudely transplanted to the pragmatic red soil of the Mallee when her husband returns to work the family farm. But you cannot uproot a plant and expect it to thrive. And so it is with Elise. Her meringues don't impress the shearers, the locals scoff at her Paris fashions, her husband works all day in the back paddock, and the drought kills everything but the geraniums she despises.

As their mother withdraws more and more into herself, her spirited, tearaway daughters, Marjorie and Ruby, wild as weeds, are left to raise themselves as best they can. Until tragedy strikes, and Marjorie flees to the city determined to leave her family behind. And there she stays, leading a very different life, until the boy she loves draws her back to the land she can't forget...

This isn’t a review, but a book talk. I didn’t finish this novel. I wanted to try reading something different to what I usually read and I did. I enjoyed what I read and I do want to one day finish this novel or it will forever bug the everloving shit out of me.

First off, what does DNF mean?

DNF or Did Not Finish is a label for a novel/s that a person has started but for the life of them, couldn’t finish. These books often times aren’t picked back up by the reader ever or for a prolonged period of time.

Look, it’s true that some novels are harder to read than others, and not all books are suited to an audience of the entire world! So it’s completely okay to have picked up a book, especially one you’re just “giving a go” and not being able to finish it.

Making the choice to DNF Wearing Paper Dresses.

I started this novel late last year because it’s a different genre to what I usually read. I thought I’d give it a shot, but I missed the mark and just couldn’t finish it.

DNFing a novel is not an easy choice to make. It got to the point where I was forcing myself to read and just really not enjoying the experience so after a while of being in a reading slump, I decided to move on.

I pushed myself till page 69 then just said I had enough. I do actually want to finish the novel as it was interesting, I just didn’t enjoy the style of writing.

Partial Review

I picked up this book because it was different from what I usually read, but boy was it different!

Skip this paragraph if you don’t want to get a headache over my description of the writing style of this novel.

Writing styles that focus so solely on the use of character and scene descriptions to paint emotions is something that is hard for me to read. It takes a lot out of a person to interpret a passage written in a style that they are not used to reading. This is the same reason why I don’t like reading classics, mostly due to the writing focusing so heavily on descriptors to convey emotion.

Honestly, I’m not even sure I’m getting my message across in the way I hope to.

Writing styles are hard to discuss. I haven’t gone to school for writing so I am in no way qualified to identify writing styles and pick apart a story analytically, but I do know what I like.

The actual non-headache-inducing review starts here.

Wearing Paper Dresses is a novel that perfectly illustrates the divide between people who are from the city and those who live in the Mallee in Rural Victoria.

The novel took place in the Mallee when a family of four has to move from the city to the Mallee to take care of the family farm.

The entire story is told by a narrator. It’s a strange experience because the story is told in bits and pieces, where they only include the small events that actually contribute to the storyline are included.

These are events such as gatherings, playing the piano, people visiting the house, etc. which highlight the divide between the people from the Mallee and the persistent woman who came from the city.

I didn’t read enough to gauge an idea of the actual storyline, so I’ll end my review here. Short, uninformed and a little bitter.

★ Rating ★

I can’t and didn’t give this novel a rating because I didn’t finish it. It would be unfair for me to give a novel a rating that I did not read enough to form a full opinion of all aspects of the novel.

Reviews are for advice and if anyone reads these and relies on my rating to choose if they read or don’t read a novel, I don’t want to mislead anyone by giving any novel a false, uninformed rating.

 

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See you back here on Monday’s (book reviews), Wednesday’s (storytime/ writing updates) and Saturday’s (other bookish content).

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