Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Transformation of Things ~ Jillian Cantor review

The Transformation of Things
Avon A
November 2, 2010
304 pages
Amazon for more info/to order

Jennifer Levenworth is getting her hair done when her world begins to come undone. The television in the salon is tuned to the news and it is from it that Jennifer learns that her husband, Will, the handsome young judge has been indicted on bribery charges.

Jen leaves the salon mid shampoo--hair still wet--sure that Will will tell her it's all some huge mistake.

Instead it looks like her husband just might be through with being a judge . . . and Jen might be done with being the well to do wife of a judge who runs fundraisers and plays tennis in the mornings. Whether she wants to be or not.

Forced to try to reconnect with the life she left behind when she and Will moved from Philadelphia to wealthy Deerfield, Jen also finds herself having strange dreams. Dreams where she's someone else. Living the life of her friends and family in these dreams, knowing, once she wakes up, things she shouldn't know if it's only a dream, Jen tries to discern what's happening.

And what this new life means for her marriage and for her.

The Transformation of Things (Jillian Cantor's first adult novel after the two YA novels The September Sisters and The Life of Glass) looks at Chuang Tzŭ/Zhuangzi's butterfly dream in which a man dreams he's a butterfly and when he wakes doesn't know if he's a man dreaming he's a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he's a man.

(relevant paragraph below [starts with 'Last night..'])

Stefan Petrucha's Split (my review) used the same idea as its base so I thought it was really interesting to read a second novel with the same start but such a different plot.

I'll also admit to wondering for almost all of the book just how The Transformation of Things was going to play into Transformation. I understood that Jen was having the dreams that were insights into the lives of her close friends and family but the book seemed to be about her trying to get her life back together a lot more than it was about what the dreams really were.

It was getting really close to the end of the book and i was really wondering how things were going to be resolved so quickly.

When things were explained, I'm not sure I loved it. It made sense, it did work for the story, but I'm just not sure it's what I was looking for. This was almost a book that I wished I knew the end from the start or one that I might want to read again now that I know the end because I'm just really not sure how I feel about the ending. (Which is also why I took a little while to review this--I had to think about it!)

The ending aside, the rest of the book is a really enjoyable chicklit type of book with substance. Jen and Will are working on rebuilding their lives after what they thought was for sure suddenly disappears. Readers learn about their relationship from the start (including help from some of Jen's dreams). We also learn about Jen's friends and where she is with them now but how she's let some relationships slide and worked more on others.


received from LibraryThing's EarlyReviewers

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