Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson -- Book Review

"Across from me at my table at the Astor Court was Michael: hands down the handsomest man I knew, or have ever known, for hat matter. Also, the nicest, the kindest, and probably the wisest."

As a college student starved for an easy-going read, James Patterson’s “Sunday at Tiffany’s” was full of promise. The snowy picture with a young couple embracing on the cover quickly caught my interest and I couldn’t wait till I was done with my schoolwork and this week's newspaper to start reading the story.

It felt great to cuddle up in my quilt and start reading for fun again until I read the first page of the book. The author's detailed description of an ice cream fudge sundae didn't manage to disguise the horrific writing. The story was filled with numerous adjectives that seemed to be there to distract the reader from noticing the lack of quality in the style. I love adjectives—they can breathe life into a story and transcend the pages of the book, but only if used properly Adjectives can also drag the story down, cluttering out the plot and themes, which is what happened. Still enthusiastic about reading a book other than Chemistry or Spanish, I plodded on through the pages. Neither the plot nor the style ever improved.

I felt like I was reading a private journal written by somebody in their late teens, rehashing how awful their parents were, rather than a story from a seasoned author. I have a beef with stories structured around the idea of a character blaming their weaknesses on their parents or relatives. After a certain age I feel that the character should step up and take control of their lives. I don’t want to hear about your eating problem, how ugly you think you are, or the awful manner in which your boyfriend treats you. Eventually the heroine’s problems in “Sunday at Tiffany’s” were resolved but the conclusion made me think the author ran out of things to complain about so he ended the book.

One moment in the book had promise—the sex scene between the heroine and the hero. But even as the hero was nibbling on the heroine’s breasts, the author quickly gave the reader the quick and dirty rundown. The lovemaking lasted less than a half of a page, more like a paragraph really. Like the rest of the novel, the sex scene was poorly executed and sloppy.

As I closed the book and left my toasty quilt behind in the chair, I thought about what I would write for this review. As much as I disliked the story, I appreciate the hard work the author probably put into it…BUT if you are going to commit to a sex scene or fill your novel with a monstrous number of adjectives, at least have the wherewithal to do it it well.

Buy Sundays at Tiffany's from


Anonymous said...

I agree with you totally. It's a sad day indeed when coffee ice cream with hot fudge is a harbinger of a bad book.

Jenners said...

And thank you for confirming exactly why I don't like James Patterson's books. This is pretty much why I resisted all the giveaways I saw for this book -- he is a bad writer!

wordjunkie said...

Great review!
I've read a lot of books where sex scenes are added like garnish, and rarely well written.

But to describe an ice cream with hot fudge badly - that is a crime!

claire said...

A couple of years ago, someone recommended this author's Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas to me. I wasn't that interested but read it for her sake. Indeed, I felt like I was reading a Mills & Boon. Which is why I probably will never read Patterson ever again. And you just affirmed my decision.

trish said...

Great review! You detailed all the reasons why I don't want to read this book. I'd seen this book around but hadn't really heard anything positive or negative about it. I think I'll skip it. Thanks for saving me some hours in my life. :-)

Alyce said...

I haven't read this book yet, but will be reviewing it in the next few months. From what I've read, people either love this book or hate it.

"the conclusion made me think the author ran out of things to complain about so he ended the book" You totally made me laugh with this one. Great review!

Alessandra said...

Hi Cassandra! Nice to hear from you. I haven't read this book (and don't plan to), but I liked your review. Keep up the good work!

bermudaonion said...

I thought I left a comment, but I don't see it. Sorry this book didn't work for you - it almost sound like the authors were trying too hard.

C. B. James said...

I enjoyed your review. It's not even his bad writing you know. There's a "with..." credit on this book. That odrwn means a best selling author is just sticking his name on the top of someone else's book to increase sales.

Buyer beward.

Anna said...

I read this book last year when it first came out. Thankfully, I got it out of the library. I agree with everything you say in your review. After reading this one, I'm hesitant to pick up another Patterson down the road. Since the writing seemed a lot different than his previous books, I'm thinking the co-authors have more to do with the writing than he does.

Diary of an Eccentric

Jenny Girl said...

I understand this is your first review. Great job! I think you covered all the bases and then some.
I agree with your thoughts on the sex scenes and characters blaming someone else for their problems. These things grate my nerves. Get over it, and make a decent effort at a sex scene, or don't do it at all.
Welcome to blogging :)

Eva said...

Awww-I hate bad writing! I just gave up on a book 200 pages in (it was 600 pages long), because I just couldn't stand it. It was a review copy too. :)

If you want a great escapist read (I graduated college in 2007), I really enjoyed Rosy Thornton's Hearts and Minds or Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle. Both smart, well-written, girly books. :)

Meg89 said...

Thanks Cassandra for jumping in with a great review, and I hope you're enjoying your current book a little more!

@C.B. -- I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind sticking an
author's name on someone else's book, although it does seem like this is what happened, since paranormal romance isn't Patterson's normal genre. I think it's ridiculous, but I guess, so long as it generates sales, the pub. companies will do it.

@Eva -- I'm glad you enjoyed Hearts and Minds because it's next on my
TBR list. You just made me want to go pick it up and start now!

Serena said...

I have not read Sunday's at Tiffanys because I've seen so many poor reviews.

I'm sorry that you disliked this one, but I'm sure there are better reads out there for you to review.

Thanks for your honest've affirmed my decision not to read this one.

Jo-Jo said...

I did win this book but I haven't read it yet. Maybe Patterson should read Slow Hands to learn how to write a sex scene? lol

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

I haven't read a James Patterson book in years -- and I think you just reminded me why. Excellent review...I very much appreciate honesty like this!

Anonymous said...

Great review. I was considering reading this because my mother really loves his Alex Cross books. I may still pick it up from a library and read a little myself. Nevertheless I enjoyed your well put together review.

Mara said...

Great Review! I JUST posted a review as well. IF anyone is interested in checking it our, please come to my family's site.

Anonymous said...

So I have a few things to say. As a child and even now, Drop Dead Fred has been one of my favorite movies. It's an imaginary-friend-returns story but with no obvious romance between the two main characters.

When I read the plot summary for Sunday's, I was quickly swept back into my childhood adoration for this subject. I literally screamed with excitement, thinking this story would soon be a favorite.

I read this story very quickly because it was enjoyable.. Until I realized how bad Patterson's style was. He also did not provide a reason for the imaginary friends return or existence... It just ..was.

So, yeah it was alright for a quick and cute read, but honestly I did not like the substance handed to me. The sex lacked passion, the hot-fudge sundae was horrible, and I don't think half of the characters should have been present.

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