Jul 10, 2008

Book Review: The Wentworths

August Wentworth: The patriarch, who drinks, cheats on his wife and thinks all women are after him, even at his age.

Judith Wentworth: The matriarch who cares more about appearances than her family’s needs.

Conrad Wentworth: The eldest son and cruel womanizer.

Rebecca Wentworth-Jones: The uptight daughter who needs pills just to get through the day.

Norman Wentworth: The homosexual, cross-dressing youngest son who hates his family for their lack of acceptance.

Paul Jones: The attention-starved son-in-law who is afraid to speak up.

Monica: The teenage, drug using granddaughter who thinks she’s smarter than everyone.

Little Joey: The grandson who is a kleptomaniac and doesn’t’ see anything wrong with it.

You’ve just met the Wentworths. A rich, spoiled, southern California family as dysfunctional as they come.

Katie Arnoldi’s THE WENTWORTHS is a bold, dark, erotic story of an elite rich family. Some have called it a satire, but that would mean that it was funny or makes fun of the people or their lives. It did do that to an extent, but as I read on I found it more disturbing than anything. I'm no prude and I do like dark comedy, but I would be more likely to label it sadistic. There were a few funny lines early on, but not enough to label it humorous, in my opinion.

The story is told in the first person by each member of the family, along with a few outsiders. It’s easy to tell whose perspective you’re reading by the varying personalities and the quirky titles of each chapter. The chapters are very short, sometimes only a page, which gives the book a choppy feel. It’s not a novel that flows with dialogue. Basically, the story is about a woman who first tries to worm her way into the family with no luck then tries to teach Conrad a lesson. It’s also about how this family reacts to even the most mundane happenings, such as Judith’s obsession with finding missing silver tongs from a tea set.

To be honest, this book was just ok for me. After I finished it, there just wasn’t much I was left with. And nothing really started to happen until the last 50 or so pages. A lot of time was spent explaining the personalities of the characters and how, in they’re own words, they felt about each other.

I understand Ms. Arnoldi’s first novel, CHEMICAL PINK was a surprise cult hit and I’ve read there’s talk of a screenplay. I’m sure there will be a similar following for this latest release. It’s not a book for everyone, but if you’re in the mood for bold, explicit, R-rated fiction, this is the book for you.

The Wentworths
Author: Katie Arnoldi
Publisher: Overlook Press, March 2008
255 pages
Would I recommend this book? Probably not

1 comment:

  1. I had this on my list, and once I got it, I just shuffled it around in my pile and looked at it...but I never was compelled to pick it up. Thanks for re-affirming that decision! If you had enjoyed it, I would have revisited it.


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