| Home | Fiction | Listserv | Creative Archives | Scholarly Archives |
| Book Review Archives | Critical Essays | Contribute | Search the Site |

Mirrored Lives
ISBN: 0974414905

By Lib Lander and Jan Lander
Review by: Jen Lofquist

12/01/04

The saying goes “everyone has one book in them” but it never goes on to say whether anyone wants to read it.

Part of me hates writing this review. Even though I didn’t like the book, I liked Lib and Jan, and I’m sorry that some of what I’m about to say will hurt their feelings. I’m sure they are nice people, and I’m really sorry that both of them were hurt by the same man. But their story is just not a book.

You can’t make something meaningful out of something as mundane as two ex-wives figuring out that they married the same jerk. It’s not a new story. And, at the end of the day, it is not a very interesting one either. Sure there’s the twist that one was black and one was white, but it can’t save this book from becoming a litany of sins by Sidney Lander and thirteen chapters of barely connected vignettes.

The book is not helped by what can only be described as amateur writing. At times it was so stilted and false, I honestly laughed aloud. The introduction was simply painful. Since this was written by aid of a ghost writer, you have to wonder how unreadable it would have been without Dawn Josephson. These women were real, yet they were reading so two-dimensionally I had to check a few times to be sure that this wasn’t
just really badly written fiction. You never get past the “I’m a victim” mentality of Jan and Lib. Consistently, they are completely innocent in their marriages. Yet, instead of vindicating them, I couldn’t help thinking that there had to be another side to these stories. I never trusted either of them as narrators. It was too one-sided, too bitter, too much “Beauties and the Bastard” to be taken at face value.

I’m not going to venture to say that they are responsible in some way for being horribly mislead by a man—even after reading this book I don’t feel as if I have enough information to make that call. But they are responsible for writing a revenge piece about their experiences and deciding to call it a book. Closure is wonderful, but until you can make it enlightening, interesting and readable, it has no place on my bookshelf.

Contact Women Writers