I wanted to give Melissa Bank a second chance after being underwhelmed with her debut novel, but I found her follow-up, The Wonder Spot, to be equally underwhelming. This is not to say that the novel is without merit, as there are things that Bank does very well.
She doesn't write plot, she write slice of life and character sketches. This entire book comprised of slices of the main character, Sophie Applebaums, life. It's an examination of how a woman grows (or is stuck) as she develops relationships in her life. Again, this book doesn't have a big plot. It's almost like little short stories revolving around the same person. The lack of a forward plot or over-all arc, is a bit maddening and maybe if the character was more interesting, it would be forgivable.
Bank writes characters. She write real people. Sophie is entirely relatable, even if she isn't very likable. Unfortunately, I recognized much of myself in her character. The problem with making her so real, is it made the book a bit dull. This is not even remotely escapist literature or chick-lit. It's a character study. Sophie may feel real, but she is also not a very interesting person.
Neither are the other characters in the story. I kept getting them confused with one another, none of them made an impression. This was the major fault of the story. I can handle the lack of plot and realism, if the characters give me a reason to care. Unfortunately, I just didn't care about any of them.
I want to like Bank, as she has a way of writing that is authentic. I just desperately want her writing to be more interesting.