Saturday, 9 November 2013

Read in 2013 - 43: Frances

This book was a surprise in that I had not checked any product information before downloading it as one of the many free ebooks (it is not free now) on my Kindle.
"Frances" by Mary Carmen is the fictional autobiography of Frances Myllar, written from her hospital bed in the year 2040.

By and by, the reader learns some of the things that have happened in the decades between now and 2040: there has been another world war, with all its political and economial consequences, and climatic changes mean that people dress different from the way we do now.

Let me give you the story's synopsis directly from Amazon's product page:
"Frances Myllar is a beautiful, intelligent, and rich prisoner of her family. She and her three siblings are guarded around the clock. In 2040 Frances is crippled by a terrible accident and uses her convalescence to write her life's story. Frances's story includes romance, honors for her work, a loveless marriage, and two children. It also includes her close relationships with her happy-go-lucky brother and her brilliant mother. The events of 2040 turn Frances's life around. From her hospital bed she makes decisions and sets in motion events that will free her from her family and her cold husband. Frances cannot know these decisions will also give her the opportunity for worldwide fame and executive responsibility."
While the story unfolds, one can not help wondering how come Frances allowed her life to be completely ruled by others and not once decides anything for herself. Instead, she goes about all her manifold duties and tasks with not a word of complaint. Everything she does is a success, and there is not one single thing that could be considered a failure.
Even her "romance" does not sound romantic at all; the (few) "steamy" scenes are extremely clinical, like describing sex between Barbie and Ken. Her feelings are as good as non-existent, or at least they never become apparent to me.  There is no humour, everything sounds technical and perfect.
Frances and everyone else in the book appear therefore rather flat, not like people of flesh and blood. I can not relate to her at all, and wonder if it's just me, or others who have read the book feel the same.

Now that I am putting my impression into words, I begin to think that maybe this technical perfection is exactly what the author meant to convey. If this was her intention, she has succeeded very well.

You can learn more about Mary Carmen and her books on her website.

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