The Best Place to Be – Book Review and Blog Tour

The Best Place to Be: A Novel in Stories by Leslie Dormen

Leslie Dormen used a fascinating format for “The Best Place To Be,” one I have never before seen.  She calls this format, ‘a novel in stories,’ and, as you might guess, it is a cross between a novel and a series of short stories.  Essentially, Dormen took different scenes from the life of her character, Grace Hanford – scenes from childhood to middle age – and put them in the order that best expressed the story she wanted to tell, instead of chronological order.  It was a fascinating format, one that could be quite successful and that I think Dormen did well.

However, I unfortunately felt a bit ‘blah’ about the character, Grace.  I found myself unable to relate to Grace at all.  I didn’t agree with many of her priorities or decisions, but I also wasn’t able to commiserate with why she may have made them anyway.  This book is more for the 40 year-old stunningly single sophisticate than the happily newly married.

What do you think of the format of this book (even if you haven’t read it)?  Are you more drawn to novels or short stories?  How would you see this format bridging the gap for you?

I do want to say, just because I didn’t like this book doesn’t mean YOU won’t.  I encourage you to check out other reviews, because the book does have pretty good ratings on LibraryThing.  Here are all the other blogs this book is touring with TLC Blog Tours:

Wednesday, October 1st:  Wormbook

Friday, October 3rd:  Maw Books

Monday, October 6th:  Diary of an Eccentric

Wednesday, October 8th:  Devourer of Books

Friday, October 10th:  Life and Times of a “New” New Yorker

Monday, October 13th:  Books I Done Read

Wednesday, October 15th:  From the Mixed-Up Files

Friday, October 17th:  Bloody Hell!  It’s a Book Barrage!

Monday, October 20th:  A Girl Walks Into a Book Store…

Wednesday, October 22nd:  The Book Lady

Monday, October 27th:  Bookgirl’s Nightstand

Buy this book on Amazon.

16 comments to The Best Place to Be – Book Review and Blog Tour

  • I’m not crazy about short stories – maybe I haven’t read the right ones yet – but there just isn’t enough character development or plot in them for me.

  • I said the same thing in my review. As an almost thirty something stay at home mom with two small children I didn’t relate to the character. But if you were a “older” city gal with loose morals (meaning you give no thought to the wife of the married man you’re dating) than this book would be for you.

  • fyrefly

    The only book I’ve read that could be considered a novel of short stories is Black Swan Green by David Mitchell (actually, Cloud Atlas by the same author would probably count as well). Black Swan Green is in the format of one story per month over the span of a year, and are arranged chronologically – I don’t know how I’d deal with non-chronological. It took me about halfway through Black Swan Green to realize that it wasn’t a typical novel, but I ended up loving it.

  • Ti

    I can’t get into short stories but if they are interrelated (sp?) in some way then maybe I’d be more willing to read them. Interesting idea.

  • I think a good short story can be just as good as a good novel. Different, but good and I like them both. And then we have the novella…a bit of both.

    But a novel of short stories…off hand I can’t think of having run across one before. The non-chronological part might upset me more. I am a lineal sort. And neither a “40 year-old stunningly single sophisticate” or “happily newly married”.

  • I have this coming up in a few weeks but haven’t read it yet…thanks for your review. Given the similarities in our newly married lives, I’m interested to see if I feel the same way about it.

  • Shana

    Jen, I love these tours because I get to read everyone’s opinion in succession. I just read Anna’s review yesterday and she really liked the book and Grace sounded like a character I’d like (though not necessarily see eye to eye with!)

    I’m typically drawn to novels though I enjoy both formats. Yes, I think this format – linking or relating the short stories – would indeed bridge the gap for me.

  • This still sounds pretty interesting to me – probably because I’m nearly almost 40 as of today. :) I’m glad this is one of the books I selected in case I win your huge contest.

  • It sounds like an interesting technique but one I would tire of quickly.

  • arent we all..”somewhat a woman trying to find our own self n the hustle and bustle of our city life??”
    i would love to read it to know more and understand more of the psychology and choices Grace makes!

    i am linking you to my blog! check it out.
    Thanks :) looking forward the big 100th review giveaway!


  • Nicole (ikkinlala)

    I like both short stories and novels, but I’m not sure if I’d like this format. I like to read short stories in times like between classes when I don’t want to get sucked into reading for a long time, and if the stories were interconnected they might present the same problems that way as a novel.

  • I think the idea of this book is really cool, and from what I’ve heard around the blogosphere it sounds like it worked for this book. I am definitely going to add this book to my TBR list, if only to find out how the format worked with the story.

  • It’s been so neat to see everyone’s review on this book. I’m older but happily married so I may not relate to the book’s narrator either! I’m going to start this one this weekend and we’ll see how it goes.

  • I appreciate your honesty! I did enjoy the book, though I couldn’t really related to the character at all. In most cases, I don’t have to agree with or understand the character in order to enjoy the book. But there have been a few books where I really didn’t like the character at all and couldn’t finish the book or couldn’t find a single thing I enjoyed.

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