Typically before I start a book, I head over to Goodreads to check a book’s rating. Any rating below 3.5 stars makes me a little nervous. Anything above, I feel pretty good about picking up. But those ratings haven’t always served me well. There was a certain book (that shall remain nameless) that I was seeing all over the place, was chosen by a certain celebrity for her book club, and had a high rating of 4.34. So naturally, I ordered my copy and started reading. And I hated it. Couldn’t even finish it. Gave it one star and sent it off to my local used bookstore.
Ratings are personal opinions. We’ve all got them and they’re all different. So when I saw that Visible Empire was only receiving “meh” reviews, rating hovering in the mid-3’s, I was a little nervous. I had already bought the book after seeing it all over the place all summer, so I was already committed.
Based on a true event in 1962 – a flight leaving Paris full of rich residents from Atlanta that crashes killing everyone onboard – this is a story of some of the people left behind. Almost written like short stories, we are introduced to several characters connected by social status and tragedy whose lives took a 180-degree turn following the crash. Their lives are almost as big of a disaster as the crash itself.
In this case, I agreed with the majority of the Goodreads ratings. I liked this book but didn’t love it. It was just…okay. The characters were all such a mess. It was hard to get behind any of them. I didn’t have much hope for these characters. It was a short read (under 300 pages) and well written but even so, near the end I just wanted their stories to be over.
Visible Empire by Hannah Pittard
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 2018
Genre: General Fiction
Where I read: late night in bed
Stephenie’s Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars