“Lou Connor, a precocious, gifted, and unhappy sixteen-year-old, is offered a place as an exchange student in the United States, something that she hopes will take her far away from her bleak life of poverty in Sydney, Australia. Having endured a childhood with an emotionally crass, deadbeat family, she welcomes the opportunity to live the middle-class life she has long dreamed of. But soon after she moves in with her host family, the Hardings – who live in a prefabricated mansion in a nameless Chicago suburb – Lou’s acute need for acceptance and love runs up against the Hardings’ suffocating pursuit of a particular form of suburban perfection.” How the Light Gets In is a portrait of a girl on the verge of adulthood whose world – like Holden Caulfield’s before her – is full of mixed messages.
Going to America on a scholarship is going to be a new start for Lou. She may come from poverty but she is clever and all she wants is to be away from her family.
However things aren’t going to be as easy as she thinks. Even though her new room is perfect and her host family are welcoming and almost exactly as she imagined Lou still isn’t content. She tries really hard to get on with her everyone and make friends but even the people that she seems to have lot of common with can’t seem to stop her having doubts.
When she gets picked for the school play things seem like the might be piking up a little though and she makes an effort to connect with people. But even this turns out wrong and she soon finds herself playing a dangerous game that will see her chances of staying in America in jepordy.
I feel a bit underwhelmed by this book. It had good reviews and was nominated for the Man Booker Prize award but for me it didn’t do anything. It was a bit like reading a classic. You are expecting to be blown away but then it all just seems a bit boring. A lot of the story seemed to be just normal everyday activities and I found that I wasn’t excited by the plot or drawn in to find out what happened.
As a main character Louise wasn’t ever really made out to be a likely person and I often found that I was feeling frustrated because I was reading her feelings. There were things that she said that I could sympathise with and she talked often of her back ground that must be the reason for her discontent. I also found that a lot of the other characters in the book weren’t very nice either, it wasn’t till the part 3 of the book that characters I like came into it.
I’m not sure what else to say about his book. Overall I found it an easy enough read, it only took me half a day but I can’t see myself recommending it to anyone and I wouldn’t pick it up again.