The Paper Palace

The Paper Palace by Miranda Crowley Heller has gotten a lot of hype in the past few years and it’s been on all kinds of best-of lists. I finally got my hands on a copy and, to me, it wasn’t worth the hype. It held my interest and picked up the pace toward the end, but overall, it was too depressing and “already done.” Amazon: “It is a perfect August morning, and Elle, a fifty-year-old happily married mother of three, awakens at “The Paper Palace”—the family summer place which she has visited every summer of her life. But this morning is different: last night Elle and her oldest friend Jonas crept out the back door into the darkness and had sex with each other for the first time, all while their spouses chatted away inside. Now, over the next twenty-four hours, Elle will have to decide between the life she has made with her genuinely beloved husband, Peter, and the life she always imagined she would have had with her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn’t forever changed the course of their lives. As Heller colors in the experiences that have led Elle to this day, we arrive at her ultimate decision with all its complexity. Tender yet devastating, The Paper Palace considers the tensions between desire and dignity, the legacies of abuse, and the crimes and misdemeanors of families.” While many have enjoyed this one, it wasn’t for me.

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