Friday, July 8, 2016

A Not-Quite-Review of the Housekeeper and the Professor

The Housekeeper and the Professor
Yoko Ogawa

I have a confession to make.  Tonight I gave up on one of the books I was reading: the Housekeeper and the Professor.

I read a friend's 5 star review and it prompted me to want to read it.  (I just reread that review and it nearly made me want to give this book one more try.)  The cover is beautiful, too, and convinced me that I would love the book.  (Don't judge a book blah blah, yes, I know.)

I started and stopped it, then returned to it and have now stopped again.  Ogawa's writing is beautiful, and the relationships between the three characters is developing so nicely, but. . . It's not you, novel, it's me.

You see, I am mathematically challenged.  This book revels in the beauty of mathematics and numbers.  I want to see this beauty, I know it's there, but I'm in over my head every time they start adding up simple numbers; the complex problems cause me great discomfort.  When I am faced with any kind of math, my brain tends to freeze; it's been a problem since the 4th grade.  (I did try skimming over the math bits, but they are integral to the story.)

Like I said: it's not you, it's me.

I would recommend the Housekeeper and the Professor to those that are good at math; I think those people would enjoy both the beauty of the writing and the beauty of the mathematics.  I'd also be more than glad if  someone would tell me how it ends because I care about the unnamed Professor, his unnamed Housekeeper, and her unnamed son.  I do.  Unfortunately, I can't overcome my arithmophobia enough to be able to read it through to the end.

(See how beautiful the cover is?!)

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