The Odds: A Love Story by Stewart O'Nan

Monday, May 7, 2012

Title: The Odds: A Love Story
Author: Stewart O'Nan
Pages: 192
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Viking (Penguin)
Pub. Date: January 19, 2012

I had never read Stewart O'Nan prior to The Odds and thought this was the perfect book to start with because the topic of marriage combined with Niagara Falls (where I'd love to go one day). But I have to say that I didn't care for this story nearly as much as I'd hoped I would.

The Odds told the story of Art and Marion, who in a last ditch effort to save their marriage, take a trip back to where they spent their honeymoon -- Niagara Falls. Alongside this, Art has a plan to play in the casino in an effort to win enough money to prevent their home from foreclosing. The entire book is a rumination over their marriage. Art and Marion each (in their thoughts) allude to the things that have happened to contribute to the downfall of the marriage.

I do, typically, enjoy character studies; but I felt that these characters made no growth or change throughout the book. And from what we do learn about the characters, I just did not like them. It was somewhat depressing, but to me it was in a ridiculous way. I felt like the characters had no insight and were just choosing to make themselves miserable. Because of this, I think, the ending was sort of sudden for me, too, since I felt it didn't go anywhere.

That being said, I did enjoy O'Nan's writing style and think that had the characters been less miserable and stagnant, I might have enjoyed it much more. I will give O'Nan another try (as if he needs me too, he already has so many fans!) but I'm not in a hurry.


Mary (Bookfan) said...

I have a mini review of The Odds scheduled to post on Wednesday. It seemed like everyone gushed about it several weeks ago and for me, not so much. Like you, I enjoyed the author's writing.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I am in your camp and Mary's. I love his is gorgeous. But OMG my skin crawled with these two characters. I thought they were miserable, they made me feel miserable, and it was excruciating for me to get through this tiny little book.

christina said...

I'm on the fence with Nan. I've read one book that I enjoyed - can't remember the title, but it is all about these folks at a restaurant working one last night before it closes down. The other, not so much - it was the story of a girl who goes missing but it's the story of those left behind.

Maybe this will be my tie breaker.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I am also conflicted about O'Nan. I like HOW he says, but not WHAT he says! And I definitely like to see character growth in a book!

Ti said...

I love O'Nan but of the books I've read so far of his... The Odds was the most depressing. I do feel as if they grew but keep in mind, it was a just a weekend... realistically, characters can admit to defeat in a weekend, but can they truly change? Probably not.

nomadreader said...

This was my first O'Nan too, and it sounds like I enjoyed it more than you did. I'm eager to read more of him too, but from what I understand his novels are all so different.

Jenners said...

I agree with you on this. I didn't fall for it but I could see that he is a good writer who I'd like to explore more. I felt the ending was so abrupt too.

Juju at Tales of said...

Not sure I would dig this one. But thanks for the review.

BTW Love your picture of you in Savannah. I <3 Savannah!

Zibilee said...

I had been curious about this one, but then Sandy said it was not very good, so I was reevaluating. Now that I read how you felt about it, I think I will pass on this one. It doesn't sound like something I would enjoy. Great review today, by the way. You articulated your viewpoints excellently!

Meg @ write meg! said...

I'm obsessed with all things Niagara Falls so I've had my eye on this one, but I'm sorry to say it wasn't a hit for you! I might still give it a try, mostly because I've heard so much about O'Nan, but maybe I'll start with a different book.

Jennifer said...

Oh no! I've had my eye on this one nice I visited the Falls for the first time last summer. Sorry to hear this one didn't work for you. I read one by O'Nan a while back that takes place in the area I live. He lived here for a time when he went to college so it was cool to know exactly all the places he was referring to! I think it was called The Good Wife. I really liked it.

Jenny said...

Jennifer - Would you believe I actually remember when you read that because I had (well still have) that book on my TBR and was really looking forward to it. This one might give you the feel of being there since you've been there before, but I have my eye on some other Niagara Falls setting books so I might go with those first!

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