By Patricia Highsmith
Started: 16th October 2014
Finished: 17th October 2014
I’ve been curious by this book since seeing the cover, nothing really gave the story away. There’s a couple of Highsmith’s books on my reading list so I was really hoping that I would enjoy her. In a haze of flu and chest infection I was surprised at how quickly I managed to read this and enjoyed it.
This novel follows the protagonist Therese, a nineteen year old girl who believes she has found love for the first time in a customer at her store. However as the novel continues more complications arise into this love.
At first I found Therese to be a very likeable character, a little naive – but there was something about her which gave her a charm. She was starting afresh but still didn’t seem completely sure about what she wanted. However as the novel developed, I began to see Therese as more of a selfish character. I like how she loved so passionately but suddenly she disregarded other people’s feelings for her own. Carol was a very interesting character, from the start I just didn’t know what to make of her. She was intriguing, there were a lot of questions surrounding her and I made many assumptions (some of which were true). There were some great minor characters too, it’s debatable whether they’re likeable or not (Richard, Abby etc) but they were still great characterisations.
There wasn’t a lot in terms of plot, it only really started to develop towards the end and even then it was very sudden and quite rushed. The fact it was sudden worked in the book’s favour as, as a reader you aren’t expecting it. However, for me, it happened too close to the end for anything really substantial to come out of it. For the most part, the novel focused solely on Therese and her love for Carol and how other people react around them. Personally, I enjoyed reading it despite the lack of plot however there were times when I found myself wanting something more to happen.
On the whole I liked Carol and it has made me eager to read the other books of Highsmith’s on my reading list. I must admit, I’m hoping I enjoy the others more with both the interesting characters and plot. If you’re looking for a book with a developed plot rather just the protagonists love life, this may not be the book for you.