A Touch of America
A Touch of America: Memories of an Austrian Fulbright Scholar was not my favorite read. The idea has such potential: reading about the impressions of America from the perspective of an exchange student after World War II. I have several issues with the book right from the start. The first is that it is not clear that this book is fiction. The character Helen is based on Wilma Shine’s experience but she is fictional. Just the title indicates that this is in a memoir style and it is not. Perhaps it is in the historical fiction: memoir style but it is not in itself a memoir.
Another critique I have is the formatting. Across the top of each page is a line (like a header) and on many pages the text and line are crooked. Unfortunately having a line there accents this imperfection. Chapters do not have numbers and in some cases there are large white spaces for no apparent reason.
The writing itself is startling. I am not sure if there is a factor I am unaware of but the writing was oddly disjointed. It almost reads like a travel journal. It is short and abrupt and the writing overall does not flow well. I found the story to be more about Helen’s relationship with her love interest that her discovery of America. Shine did mention the different states that Helen visited but did not focus on that. I think there is a neat story contained in this book but I was very distracted by the writing, the formatting and the general abrupt nature of the book.
I received a complimentary copy of A Touch of America as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit dorrancebookstore.com to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.
Thank you to Dorrance Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.