Book Review – The Anonymous Blog of Mrs. Jones by Ellen Harger
February 19, 2015
An apartment fire costs everything, including the illusion of a tolerable marriage.
Gillian is depressed, her moods shifting like earthquakes raising deep, roiling anger. Convinced her friends and family won’t understand, she turns to strangers through a blog she writes as Mrs. Jones, a nondescript anyone.
Despite exposing herself on the internet, she assumes no one will notice her among millions of voices. Cathartic writing helps her to transform as she makes new friends, seeks help from a non-traditional therapist, and considers divorce.
Then Mr. Write answers. A strange man who asks questions, who peels away the layers. Gillian finds love, but life is absurdly stubborn. She must confront her husband, Evan, before she can move on.
I finished this book a couple of weeks ago, and I find myself still struggling to write a review on it. Although it is getting amazing reviews on Goodreads, and I found it to be a likable read, I was not overwhelmed like so many others seem to be. There are many positives that I will get to, but this is not a storyline that has stuck with me in the short time since I’ve read it (another reason to get to my reviews right away after reading….my memory is not stellar these days).
- I commend Harger on pursuing her dream of writing and self publishing her novel so that it gets into print. It is a book that many people are embracing, and I’m happy she didn’t let the publishing world get her down.
- Harger is a beautiful writer, though on occasion it feels a bit forced to me. She does create amazing pictures and images for you to hold on to as you dive deeper into the book.
- Gillian is an extremely well developed character, and you feel her pain as you watch her traumatic journey. I did become frustrated with her at points, but Harger does a good job of exploring how trauma impacts relationships and how every person needs to go through his or her own process to recover.
- I liked how Harger incorporated blog posts into the structure of her novel. I am always drawn to alternate forms of storytelling, and the concept of this was a winner for me.
- The story felt a bit contrived for me. I didn’t find all of the story elements realistic or believable (I would go into more detail, but I hate spoilers). I felt like Harger did a great job of portraying the fire and how it impacted Gillian, but so much of the rest of the novel was a tidy, convenient package.
- The pacing was a little off for me. There were parts of the novel that really dragged for me, and then the ending felt a little rushed and too nicely wrapped up.
- There were multiple typos that started to bother me.
I will read more of Harger’s work in the future because I do think she has a great deal of potential. Although this book was not my favorite, I do not think you would be disappointed if you read it.
Have you read The Anonymous Blog of Mrs. Jones? What are your thoughts?