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Literary Glance: The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

June 29, 2017

Oh God, please don’t let my wife read the beginning of this book.

The book is The Identicals by Elin Hildebrand, and the prologue reads like an advertisement for Nantucket.  My wife wants a nice vacation this summer, and if she reads something nice about a place like Nantucket, she’s going to want to go.  Nantucket is expensive, and we don’t have that kind of money.  I was hoping for one of those nice places that nobody has heard of (I can’t think of an example because I haven’t heard of it yet).  Those types of places are less expensive, and that’s what my family needs right now, less expensive.

Here’s what I mean about The Identicals.  I open the novel to the first page, and I already get a bunch of nonsense about how wonderful Nantucket is.

Like thousands of other erudite, discerning people, you’ve decided to spend your summer vacation on an island off the coast of Massachusetts. You want postcard beaches.  You want to swim, sail, and surf in Yankee-blue waters.  You want to eat clam chowder and lobster rolls, and you want those dishes served by someone who calls them chowdah and lobstah.  You want to ride in a jeep with the top down, your golden retriever, named Charles Emerson Winchester III, riding shotgun.  You want to live the dream.  You want an American summer.

My wife would read that paragraph and want to go to Nantucket.  I read that paragraph and think: DON’T TELL ME WHAT I WANT!!!

Plus, there’s namedropping in this book.  My wife is a sucker for name dropping.  There are a lot of names in the first couple chapters, the names of people, the names of places, and the names of specific food.  I think most of the names are real, but I’m not sure.  I’m not familiar with Nantucket, Cape Cod, and Martha’s Vineyard.

Here’s an example.  After all the bragging about Nantucket, you turn to the next page and get a smothering tour guide for Martha’s Vineyard.

The Vineyard has diversity- of races, of opinions, of terrain.  We have the Methodist campground, with its colorful gingerbread houses; the Tabernacle; Ocean Park; Inkwell Beach; Donovan’s Reef, home of the Dirty Banana- and that’s only in Oak Bluffs!  We have dozens of family farms that harvest an abundance of organic produce; we have the Jaws Bridge and the cliffs of Aquinnah; we have the East Chop and the West Chop, the Katama airstrip, and a neighbor in Edgartown who keeps llamas on his front lawn.  We have…

That’s enough.  I can’t take it.

I don’t know much about these places, but I know we can’t afford to go there this summer.

I’m not sure what the book is even about.  It’s probably about identical twins.  Maybe one lives in Nantucket and one lives in Martha’s Vineyard (or Cape Cod). Maybe the twins are really different from each other or maybe they’re estranged.  Maybe something bad happens that forces the twins to resolve their differences.

I don’t know any of that stuff.  All I know is that I can’t leave this book lying around the house.

Maybe there’s a good bestselling novel about Tulsa that I can leave lying around the house instead.  I’ve heard Tulsa’s a nice city, and it’s not expensive.

  1. Sharon Dear permalink

    I have a feeling you’re a relative of my husbands! He is a kind of guy who wants to know,”what do you want to do that for?” It’s not the money it’s the do I have to go somewhere to mingle with people I don’t want to be with kind of thing. He’s retired and likes it that way. Me, I just want to go anywhere that is not here, but don’t take me by train, bus or air. I’ve traveled that way many times. I don’t like time limits now that I am retired. Pa. really has a lot of history, and many places to have a good time, and many perfect B&B’s to stay at. I am on my own if I want to get out and travel so all I need is a good camera and pistol and I’m ready to go.

  2. It may be expensive but the description of both the island and the food seems very attractive! 😊

  3. You are hilarious. Thanks for the chuckle!

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