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. I 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 on board – 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