Guests on Earth

Thoughts goebyls Guests on Earth by Lee Smith, 2013, 328 pages

A couple of things. Where is everyone? Well, I am sure if anyone else is asking that and implying me, yep – I am sort of ‘Off the Grid” or UNPLUGGED at the moment, I guess, only because it is tough to get the good wifi on the devices best for post-writing/visiting/commenting while I “be” on vacation, so NEVERMIND.

And, I’m a wimp. I didn’t like this book. But I don’t know HOW to ‘be nice and not like a book’. Which makes it sound like I do know how to be NOT nice and NOT like a book and that’s not quite it.

I wanted to like this book.

This isn’t even a case of high expectations! It is the case of realizing that this author has many fans so she must have SOME competence, but I realize now that I have discovered her too late. Her early books might be good but she might as well have phoned this one in.

I am sad.

It might have gone somewhere, it might have had promise?

And against all the Go Set a Watchman chatter about having an editor with the golden ovaries to say, “Go rework this and bring it back to me and you might have something.”, I suggest someone on the Smith-Team might have suggested this for this book.

It is teased to be about Zelda aka wife to Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald. There’s really not that much about her.

It has a lovely LOVELY setting in Asheville NC!  yippee – really, I think I liked the setting best of all.

It brings up too many minor characters that get lost.

Thought I teetered between 2 stars and 4, I am settling on 3 stars but it really disappointed me in story structure. I just don’t have the guts to rate it a 2 star. And I did like the first third or so.

She obviously did her research.

She knows how to string sentences together well.

Descriptive sentences were great.

I struggle with praising the character development.

I am not qualified nor have the write words in my critics-toolbox to say what is exactly so disappointing, but…

I was THRILLED for the first 30 pages! I thought, “Oh goodie, I feel this might be a SOMTHIN’ book!”

But it fell flat.

I truly almost didn’t read the last 30 pages. I was almost about to just drop and walk away.


I just didn’t get the point of it.

I dunno.

I’m just SAD.

BEST QUOTE?  p.85-“He might be sweet as pie, or he might take drunk and start sworping around.”

(Did I only just convince you to read it to find out if you agree?!  crazy, huh?)

The book cover will take you to goodreads where you can read all sorts of LOVE and DARN kind of reviews.


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17 thoughts on “Guests on Earth

  1. I’m fairly sure I’ve read one of this author’s books, but I can’t remember which. I know I’ve looked at several of them over the years. It might have been Fair and Tender Ladies. So sad when you just can’t remember. Seems like I liked it.

    Oh, I just found it. And I did like it a lot. It was a little book that I read at Christmas called ‘The Christmas Letters’. Made up of one woman’s annual letters to friends and family, which might or might not have been exactly ‘true’ to life. As those letters seem to be, in my opinion. So, I can recommend that one.

  2. Never heard of it. And after almost 3 weeks away from home I totally wiped my feed reader clean so haven’t noticed the absence of bloggers. Glad you’re having a good vacation, though! Guessing everyone is just busy with the last days of summer!! 🙂

    1. You make me laugh. I hadn’t heard of it either until it was ‘assigned’ to me. I kind of like that this book club just gives us a book each month. No discussion, no vote.

  3. I liked Oral History and On Agate Hill. I didn’t even like Guests on Earth enough to blog about it. The Devil’s Dream I read and blogged on but remember as Meh… She’s hit or miss for me.

    1. Well! I could probably count all the books I haven’t posted about on – – no, it might be more than ten, if I really had to look. I was excited BECAUSE she is NC. That’s ok – lots of NC authors for me to get to someday.

  4. What a shame! I’ve only read one of Lee Smith’s books, On Agate Hill, and I liked it way more than I expected to. I know that’s not a rave review, but my expectations were rock bottom (I don’t like American history and historical fiction set in America, usually), and it turned out to be quite a good read. I keep meaning to read another of her books but then I keep forgetting.

  5. litandlife

    See, there’s where the 50 page rule fails me. So at 30 pages you were all in. One would presume, then, at 50 pages you would have decided to continue. But at what point do we give ourselves permission after that to give up on a book?

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