26 May 2011

Effigy by Alissa York

While cruising the stacks at the local library, I ran across 'Effigy' by Alissa York. I was immediately drawn to the cover and pleased to see it was a Giller Prize finalist. Historical fiction - inspired by the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857; and polygamy - very interesting subject; throw in a little weirdness with the fourth wife who spends all of her time in the barn practicing the art of taxidermy and it all should add up to a compelling read. (For those of you who commented on my Tuesday Teaser, it was a scene where Dorrie is preparing a wolf family for stuffing)

Sadly, I felt a little let down after reading this novel. Maybe I had built it up too much in my mind but I found it lacking. I didn't ever get close enough to the characters to care much about their experiences. Their personalities were all just too bizarre, which made it hard to think of the characters as real. There was also a lot of jumping around in the story and that tends to lose me as a reader unless there are definite separations - like different font or chapter titles that explain who is speaking. I always felt like I was finally drawn into one plot line when I was, unexpectedly tossed into another.

All in all Ms York's 'Effigy' is a dark portrayal of a strange time - maybe just a little too dark and strange.


  1. I have a hard enough time with this subject matter. I think I'll pass it by.

  2. ya - it was a little too much for me.

  3. I hate when a book is disappointing. And if I can't get close to the characters, the book really doesn't have a chance of me liking it. Thanks for the honest review.

  4. Okay, so I like dark and strange, but then I write vampire novels. LOL You kind of got my attention with 'Their personalities were all just too bizarre'. Well, that and the whole taxidermy thing. Ha! I may just have to check this one out. I'll be back if I do and let you know what I thought of it.

    Visit Amazon's Susan Stec Page

  5. I'd love to know what you think of it. It is well written just not my thing.

  6. I appreciate your honesty. I always question myself when I leave reviews that explore the disappointing or negative sides to books, even books I love, but I think it's so important and I really do prefer bloggers who can bring themselves to say 'hey, it wasn't for me'

    Good stuff!

  7. Dark and strange, ok I like that sometimes, it just depends...thought this perhaps not

  8. If you like dark and strange it may be just the book for you.


Here's your chance to voice your opinion. We all have them. I'd love to hear yours. I try to respond to all comments so please check back if you are interested in that.