Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review: Tinkers


Tinkers is a short book, but irritated me in a way that usually takes a longer book to do. I wanted to like it because I liked the idea of a dark horse Pulitzer winner, but it didn't do anything for me. I can't write an impartial, third person review, because the reasons I didn't like the book are more personal.

First, I wasn't absorbed by the story. George Crosby is dying and recollecting his life. It could be an interesting life the way a seemingly ordinary marriage and career (as a clock fixer) can be made fascinating in a good novel. But I never felt engaged with his story.

Second, the story confused me. George remembers his own life, but he also remembers the lives of his father and grandfather as if he was those men, not just remembering what he had learned about them. The narrative moves among the lives of the three men indiscriminately. It was hard to know which story was happening when. Some scenes are so obscure I could not understand if they were descriptions of events or deathbed imaginings.

Finally, I didn't like George. He cheats his clock customers. He isn't very nice to his family. He has charming moments, but I never warmed to him.

There were bits and pieces I enjoyed – little glimmers of humor, scenes that were clever, a few endearing family moments. But overall, the book rubbed me the wrong way.


If you  would like your review of this book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.


Tinkers counts as one of my two Pulitzer picks for the Battle of the Prizes, American Version.  It also counts as one of my books for the Audio-Book Challenge.

We read this for my book club.  The opinions were somewhat mixed, although most people didn't care for it.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I don't think I actually reviewed this one, but I didn't love it, either. The writing was gorgeous. But when the prose eclipses the story to such a degree as this one does, I lose interest. I need both for me to think a book is great.

  3. Hi Gilion,

    This one has received some pretty mixed reviews, but generally I think they are all saying the same thing ... Everyone likes the descriptive style of writing, but the backing story is very weak and disjointed.

    That's probably enough to put me off reading it,I like to have a good story to supplement the writing.

    Sorry that you were so disappointed with the book and I hope that your next read more than makes up for this one, thanks for the frank and honest review.


  4. I haven't seen a lot of rave reviews of this book, so I don't think you're alone.

  5. "______ is a short book, but irritated me in a way that usually takes a longer book to do." : D

    Great line. I may have to steal it.

  6. I was so surprised that this book won the Pulitzer for fiction. I found it rather anemic, kind of like its cover.


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