Quick Review: Playing With the Grown-Ups, by Sophie Dahl

Many people I follow on Goodreads seemed to have liked this book, so when I saw it on sale at the bookstore I bought it right away. Plus, I thought the story sounded interesting and different than what I usually read, which I was in the mood for.

Playing With the Grown-Ups is a coming-of-age story. As a young teenager, Kitty loves living in the idyllic English countryside, but her mother Marina, who has now found a new religion, craves excitement and is in a constant search for a kind of happiness which seems all too elusive. Kitty gets caught in a whirlwind of moving, first to boarding school, and then New York, an ashram, and finally London, and finds herself both enamored and mystified by her free-spirited mother whose changing, and often opposite moods seem to dictate her life. After experiences with faith, enlightenment, love, friendship, drugs and pain, Kitty must choose what she wants to do with her life, and the person she really wants to be.

I must say I was disappointed with this book. I wasn't expecting something different, but I did expect to feel more while reading it. It took me a while to figure out why though. The characters were colorful and diverse, quirky and often felt real, and I found no fault in the plot itself. But something made it difficult for me to connect with Kitty, the protagonist. About half-way through the book, I realized that while I wanted to know what was going to happen (and I never really felt like abandoning the book), I also didn't really care. The prose was a bit disconnected as well. Situations and settings changed without any break in paragraphs or chapters, which sometimes made it confusing for a few sentences, and at times it was beautiful in its simplicity but often it felt too clinical and distancing.

In the end, I found it interesting enough, and sometimes fun. It was short and a quick read, but, to me, not quite memorable or moving.

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