The long and the short of it is: do not read this book. They made it into a movie, too, I see. Do not see this movie. It is absolutely horrible, pure and simple. The writing is fine (except for the parts that drive me crazy), but the story could not be more depressing. The way I feel about stuff like that is that if it's true -- if something bad happened to real people -- I can see some value in knowing about it. But for someone to sit down and make up horrible and depressing stuff and then for someone (like me) to fill their mind with horrible and depressing stuff -- whatever is the point? Ugh.
(I asked Elaine why she recommended it. She said that she thought it was beautifully written. Feh. I can think of a lot of things that are beautifully written that don't make you want to slit your wrists when you're done reading them. I'm DEFINITELY going to read Jane Austen now.)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. --Philippians 4:8