[Review] Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Title: Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Genre: Paranormal
Subject: Young Adults, Ghost, Sisters, Spiritual Life
Page: 482 pages
First Published: 2009

It starts with a death. When Elspeth Noblin died, she left behind a personal diary to her lover, Robert Fanshawe and an apartment overlooking the Highgate Cemetery to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina Poole.

But on two conditions. One, they will have to wait until their twenty-first birthday; and two, never in any circumstance that their mother (Elspeth’s estranged twin sister, Edie) should enter the apartment. And when they finally settle in the apartment, the twins realize that their aunt isn’t really “dead”, that her ghost still lingers around.

I really don’t know how to write this review without actually giving too much away. I am a HUGE fan of The Time Traveler’s Wife and this book is nothing near it. I deliberately avoided myself from reading this book when it first came out because I just had a feeling that it will not be as good. But then a few weeks ago I thought that I would give it a try and my initial hunch was pretty much assured and proven.

First the characters. I don’t feel so much about either Julia or Valentina. They are supposed to be twenty-one but it feels as though they are twelve. I’m just going to say as much about Elspeth and Robert. They are selfish. The only character that I actually like is Martin, the twins’ upstairs neighbor. He suffers from OCD, never gets out of his apartment (he even went as far as taping the windows with newspapers) and has a weird obsession with crossword puzzles and cleaning stuff with bleach (including his hands).

I actually enjoyed the beginning until about halfway through and I was waiting for something to happen. An excitement so to speak. The presence of Elspeth’s ghost seemed like a good start but after a while, it felt like something out of the movie Ghost. And after 2/3 of the story, I just don’t get it anymore.

In the end, the only part that I enjoyed was the historical descriptions of the Highgate Cemetery. As for the rest of the story, I guess maybe the twelve-year-old I would have appreciated it better.


I think I will give this one a miss. I didn't enjoy Time Travellers Wife, and if this one isn't as good then it's definitely not for me.
Marcia said…
While I enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife I shied away from this title once I saw all the negative reviews and the limited number of books sold.
marmalade said…
new blog :) very impressive! hehehehehe.
will link up on you. looking forward to all your future posts.
Trish said…
I enjoyed the beginning of this book, but then it just got silly. Very disappointing indeed.
I read this one and did not love it, but thought it was okay.
Nina B. said…
Oh no! And to think we were both so excited about reading this! Shucks... I'll still try to read it though, just to satisfy my curiosity.

And by the way yeah, you should read Still Alice. Definitely a great book, to make up for this one :D

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