Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful Ruins begins with a look back to 1962 in the hotel “Adequate View” set in a small Italian coastal village.  An actress has stopped there after leaving the set of Cleopatra, depressed after being told she has a deadly disease by Elizabeth Taylor’s physician.  The son of owner immediately falls in love with the actress named Dee, and from there the author takes us back and forth between the present day and the past, where the reader learns the contrasts of the selfishness of Hollywood and those that hold self-sacrifice as the ideal that can lead to greater happiness.

There were many words used to describe this book:  funny, dark, wry, witty, touching – but I found that this book did not meet any of those descriptions.  In my opinion, it fell just short.  The lack of depth makes it hard to connect with the characters, and even the writing style could have been developed further.  I give Walter credit for this study of modern values, but it missed the mark with me.

3 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2012
337 pages


About Suzanne

I'm a stay-at-home mom with three kids who loves to read.
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