I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Burning the Map by Laura Caldwell
Published by Story Ave. on 11/2/2002
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Fiction
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The choices Casey Evers has made in her twenty-six years aren't exactly making her happy. In fact, her life is so on course -- college, law school, boyfriend, job offer -- that it's actually off. So, before she slides into fourteen-hour days at a Chicago law firm, she heads to Rome and Greece with her two best friends for one last hurrah. The thing is, her best friends haven't really been all that close to her since she started seeing John two years ago, she hasn't been all that close to John lately, and she's awfully partial to Mediterranean men . . .\r\n\r\nI rest my head against his shoulder. The scooter starts to fly again, and Rome whizzes by -- a myriad of fountains, marble statues, larger-than-life doors with gigantic handles, streets that look like alleys . . .\r\n\r\nThe rigidity that has settled in my bones and head over the past year seems to thaw a bit. Yet with the thaw comes an army of questions from some unused corner of my brain. What about John? Will you tell him about this little excursion, this man you are hugging? What happens when you get back, when you have to start work, when you can no longer escape the world? I lift my head and let the wind snarl my hair around my face, trying to forget these questions, the ones with rifles in hand that are waiting to fire holes in my flimsy curtain of contentment.\r\n\r\nSet against the backdrop of sparkling beaches and old-world villages,Burning the Map ignites the fire within us all, to shine in unexpected ways . . .
It’s hard to say if I liked Burning the Map or not. One one hand, I identified with the characters; on the other, they sort of annoyed me and I never really came around to liking the protagonist. Casey Evers is one of those lucky post-post-grads who gets to take time off between grad school and Starting Real Life to poke around Europe while the rest of us slave away at Corporate America, eking out our livings so we can read about people like her. (I’m not bitter.) She’s on this fun jaunt with her two friends, Lindsey and Kat, to rekindle their sort-of crumbling friendship and maybe rediscover herself, too. But (bitchy) girls will be (bitchy) girls and much of Burning the Map is really about jealousy and the inevitable fallout when you ditch your friends for a boy you meet in Rome (and/or Ios). I’m not saying I didn’t like it, because it was overall an
interesting okay story, but much of the time was spent going over their same struggles time and again, and after a while, I was able to tune out of the audio and still know where in the story I was. It didn’t grab me and I really didn’t feel that intimate connection I love to have so much with characters. The back-and-forth between Casey, Kat and Lindsey got old and fast because it was very repetitive. I found myself thinking that Lindsey was a giant hypocrite and Kat was kind of a whore (no, a slut – whores get paid), and yet both of them openly – and often – criticized Casey for even having feelings for someone other than her longtime boyfriend she isn’t even sure she wants. Bitches, please. Aren’t you her friend? Speaking of the boys. Casey meets two. She spends a lot of time thinking and talking about the first one and I felt like as a reader, I was lead to believe that he was who she would end up with, or she would at least go after him. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, because more page time and character-building is dedicated to guy #2. Who I actually liked more, so maybe I’m biased. Nah, not me… I was not a fan of the ending. I think it was a cop-out, because it ties up none of the loose ends Caldwell left dangling throughout the story. I know some authors do this to let readers imagine what comes next, but in chick lit, I don’t really think it’s necessary. I’m reading this because I want a real happily ever after, I want to know how things work out and in Burning the Map, I’m just left wondering what happens to Casey and if she really ever achieves that. I assume she does based on the way it ends, but I can’t really know. I only know she likes wine and cheese. WHO DOESN’T LIKE WINE AND CHEESE? Overall, it’s not a terrible book. It’s not a great book. I think some readers will adore it and others may absolutely hate it if they are very character-driven.
Not a fan. Individual voices and inflections sounded like a struggle, accents weren’t that great and overall her range just wasn’t the best.
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