A Writer Reviews: Bellwether by Connie Willis

If you’re a writer, I would definitely read this for the structure. It’s really unlike any story I’ve ever read.

Plot Overview: Dr. Sandra Foster is a scientist studying fads and how they originate. She is stuck trying to figure out how the fad of the bob haircut for women originated. She’s also clueless about social situations, and the secondary plot is a sort of romance comedy. It’s very cute and sweet.

Structure: Every chapter is filled with facts about various fads, facts about scientific discoveries and snarky commentary about current fads. The plot appears in each chapter only after facts and commentary. It’s definitely not an action book, but the voice is genuine and almost mesmerizing. I listened to Connie Willis at a con and found her very enjoyable. This book is a lot like listening to her talk, and not so much like a story. There is a story, but most of the plot twists come at the end.

My husband listened to a snippet of it with me and I said, “See what I mean that it’s like Bill Bryson’s Short History of the Universe with a plot?”

And he said, “It’s more like someone’s mental commentary about their life throughout the day.” And he was exactly right.

I do recommend reading it, especially listening to the audio version by Kate Reading. Go into it expecting to be entertained. And though it’s shelved in the speculative fiction area, I found the speculative aspect to be almost non-existent. I think readers of straight fiction would enjoy it too.

What are you reading these days?

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