Have you ever noticed that it takes twice as long to read a bad book as it does to read a good one? The books you want to last and last, don’t. And the books you can’t wait to finish and forget, take weeks to get through. I feel like I just spent an entire month plodding through Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler. On the back cover it says this (which intrigued me):
BALTIMORE WOMAN DISAPPEARS DURING FAMILY VACATION, declares the headline. Forty-year-old Delia Grinstead was last seen strolling down the Delaware shore, wearing nothing more than a bathing suit and carrying a beach tote with five hundred dollars tucked inside. To her husband and three almost-grown children, she has vanished without trace or reason. For Delia, who has long felt like a tiny gnat buzzing around her family’s edges, “walking away from it all” was not a premeditated act but an impulse that will lead her into a new, exciting, and previously unimagined life.
That sounds like a wonderful story, full of possibilities, but the fact of the matter is, Delia Grinstead made an anticlimactic exit from one old-fashioned, dull life and created an even more boring one for herself! It made no sense. And, did I mention boring?
In fairness, the author took great care in creating believable characters, some of whom I became quite fond. The dialog was well-written and the plots were even mildly humorous at times (although more than a little cheesey). But the sum of the parts?