Outside of the promise that this will be one monster of a disturbing book, I found myself quite bored. There are many a dark and desolate image, and the reviews leave every page punctuated with promise, but so far as I had read, nothing really happens. We are, for the most part, merely following the proceedings of a boy with no friends who is dominated by self-loathing.
We see that he has a sexual thing for his older sister, Julie, – who appears to be quite fit – but it would appear as though all the steamy brother-sister action is saved for the end. Or at least beyond the bit that I managed to placate myself into reading. The book itself is snoozeville, perhaps much like an event of watching drying cement.
Unlike most books I cannot read to the end, The Cement Garden is not poorly written. I would find myself reading page after page, for it flows evenly, but when I would put it down, there would be no real desire to pick it up again. Save, of course, the desire to see how he introduces and portrays the sex between (or among) siblings. Is it with Julie that he has the sex? With Sue? Or both of them? What finally pushes them over the edge? Because we saw from close after the beginning that they lived quite on the edge; and that many thoughts and feelings were repressed perhaps in all but the youngest who simply hadn’t developed a care.
Despite my not reading to the end, there is no question that The Cement Garden comes with many a lesson on childhood development, family relationships, friendship, parenting, marriage, and on love itself. It is like that the father, rather than nurturing or and empowering others to do it for him, tarnished their garden by drowning and stifling it with cement, until all they were left with was wilting and death.
*Photo courtesy of: The Internet