Review: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Book #32 for 2014

This is a difficult book to rate. On a number of levels, I actively disliked this book and its transparent emotional manipulations. But I bawled at the end, so it apparently was effective despite the transparency of said emotional manipulations, so I can’t just give it one star and be done with it. So, two stars it is. This is why you can never tell my feelings about a book simply by looking at how many stars I gave it.

I really wanted to like this story a lot more than I did. The premise is intriguing, but the story’s development is ultimately predictable and disappointing. It’s like the author got distracted by the shiny of creating a Big Twist and completely lost sight of the other, more truly poignant elements of the plot. Just exploring Tin Win’s changing place in his home community and within his own family, for example, would have been an interesting story in its own right. But no, Sendker decided to waste all of his energy on the “love story” instead.

Love story? Gah. I won’t even go there. I will say only that I thought it was a total failure as a love story and I have to worry about anybody who thinks otherwise. (Which is apparently a lot of people, based on other reviews of this book. ::smh::)

Of course, much of what I think would make for more interesting reading could not be included becuase of the author’s choice of narrative device. That felt very gimmicky to me, as did the whole “hearing heartbeats” thing. I got zero feels out of that, which just makes me that much more disgusted with myself that I allowed myself to be moved to tears by such a mediocre and superficial tale.

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