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Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

Is ‘To Be Where You Are’ One Mitford Too Far?

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“I thought maybe it was just me,” frowned Her Momness. “Then I read some other reviews. And it’s definitely not ‘just me.’ So there!”

Here’s why Mom found To Be Where You Are so disappointing. (The short version).

Let me begin by saying that I’m a huge fan of Jan Karon’s Mitford series. I was hooked from Book 1 – At Home in Mitford – and have joyously jumped into every subsequent book with both feet.

Surprised

Imagine my surprise when this rambling, disjointed story turned out to be a dud. Think Fourth of July bunting on a September bandstand, all wilted and droopy. That’s how this book – the 14th Mitford installment – feels.

Sub-Par

The writing is startlingly sub-par. Anemic and formulaic. The story is all over the place, jumping from one character to another like a cat on a hot tin roof, often without clear transitions.

I had to go back and re-read some passages after realizing I was reading in the wrong person’s voice. This is due to a dearth of contextual clues regarding sudden shifts in POV, without warning.

Talk about an epic face plant. I expect better from an author of Karon’s caliber.

Out of Steam

To Be Where You Are reunites some of the old Mitford characters we’ve come to know and love – Father Tim and Cynthia, newlyweds Dooley and Lace and their adopted son Jack, Avis Packard and two Esthers (Bolick and Cunningham), Muse editor J. C. Hogan, and all the folks down at Lord’s Chapel.

But it feels hollow and tired. The story never seems to find its footing, setting up camp far below the usual level of heart and hilarity that made prior Mitford stories so memorable and enjoyable.

Dull & Disappointing

Much as I hated to do it, I bailed out after about 260 (of 447) pages. I’ve never done that with a Mitford novel. But this thing’s as dull as dirt. I literally fell asleep reading it. More than once.

This isn’t what I expected from an author I’ve enjoyed for many years. Indeed, To Be Where You Are feels like its shelf life has long since expired. I also couldn’t help wondering:

“Okay. Who are you and what have you done with Jan Karon?”

So disappointing. Heavy sigh.

Our Rating: 3.0 (being generous)

Have you ever come across a sub-par work from an author you used to love?

2 thoughts on “Is ‘To Be Where You Are’ One Mitford Too Far?

  1. I read a Jan Karon book a while back and enjoyed it. This is too bad that this one isn’t as good.

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