I wasn't sure what I was really getting when I decided to review The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. I hadn't read Eat, Pray, Love, but I had heard good things. The science nerd in me was really intrigued about the natural history and botanical references - I took the history of biology as an elective in college and a year of botany courses. I wondered at one point if I had been born at an earlier time, if I would have been a naturalist.
I love reading literary fiction, but I hate reviewing it. I never feel that I can adequately capture the beauty of the book. My vocabulary was definitely expanded by reading The Signature of All Things. As I don't often read stories set during the Victorian era, some of the slang used was new to me. I was a bit shocked with Alma's extracurricular activities in the binding closet. Not because I don't think women of the 1800s didn't engage in such activity, but that it didn't fit the story very well. There were 3 instances that made sense, and while other mentions were brief it still felt a little off given the rest of the story. (Or perhaps it was the level of detail that was off).
Speaking of detail, at times I felt that too much detail was given. I was enthralled with the story and glimpse into history, but at the same time I felt like it was taking forever to get through the story. Have you ever felt like you had read more than you really did? It would feel like I had read a good chunk only to find out that I had only moved 5% ahead. Towards the end, I felt that it was becoming too long-winded and I really hoped the story was wrapping up. I mean it covers nearly a century, and a time of rapid of change, so there is a lot of ground being covered.
I rarely speak of formatting issues, particularly for ARCs. However, this one problem really bugged me. The parts were divided with a beautiful botanical drawing or at least I assume they would be beautiful in the print version. In my e-galley on my classic Nook they were in black and white, but that wasn't the problem. The issue was with how long it took for the page to load. I read mostly on my lunch break and it was was annoying to be reading a long and then having to pause for many seconds (it felt like a minute, but I doubt it really was).
Overall, I really enjoyed The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. I'm glad I read it as it re-awoken a passion that I had forgotten (in the natural world and science).
Buy The Signature of All Things at Amazon
Hardcover (512 pages)
Published October 2013 by Viking Adult
Read: November 2013
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