Good God what an awful book.
That’s the first line on my Goodreads review which sums up exactly how I feel about this ‘story.’
I could’ve written more but there simply wasn’t enough characters and I had just cracked open a bottle of Koppaberg to ease my mind away from such a dreary story. So I’m hurling my frustrations in this blog post. Bear with, I’ll get to the point ASAP.
Now, I HATE writing bad reviews because as a writer myself, I’d hate to get one. It’s as simple as that. Plus I’m all for championing fellow writers. We’re in this together right? (Philippa Gregory doesn’t count, if she’s a writer I’m a fairy princess.)
And usually if I read an awful book I’ll just give it a one star on Goodreads and be done with it.
But Jesus H Christ this one needs a special pass.
This story centres on a character called Sue, who couldn’t be more one dimensional if she was stuck behind a puppet stand and waved in your face. Sue’s fifteen year old daughter Charlotte had apparently walked in front of a bus and is in a coma through most of the book. Then there’s Sue’s husband Brian who, again, danced behind the puppet stand on a stick.
In fact all the characters were like this. No, I lie..there were a few interesting characters that had promise but it was ruined. Ruined by cheap, lazy dialogue that felt like it had been plucked from a twelve year old’s diary.
Speaking of diaries, 50% of the story is sewn together by Sue’s diary entries from the early 90’s. It details her abusive relationship with a guy called James who…is just a total bell end but apparently he’s an insane lover – so that’s all right then. (Insane being the operative word here, but I’ll get to that later.)
Now I bought this book purely because on amazon, it was marketed under the same umbrella as Gone Girl and Before I Go To Sleep.
How dare they?
No seriously, how dare they insult Gone Girl? And Before I Go To Sleep?
It might not have been everyone’s cup of tea and yeah, a few smarties might have guessed the plot halfway…but the WRITING was fantastic. That’s what fuelled me to read on as I’m sure it did with others.
As a Masters student IN creative writing, I admit, I find it hard to read a novel without observing certain things. But most times I just chill out and enjoy the book as a reader.
Not a chance with this novel. (Can we even call it a novel?)
First it was the weak portrayal of the characters which I mentioned above. It felt like something you’d read on Wattpad – you know what I mean, a good story with plenty of promise but totally ruined by the bad writing. Then it was those God awful sentences that stretched on and on and on and on and on…right, you want me to shut up and get to the point – well that’s what I wanted throughout most of the damn book!
It’s always a key thing we writers are taught from day one.
Don’t. Bore. Your. Reader.
I had a brilliant tutor in my first year of Undergrad who would ALWAYS call me out every time I veered off point. He’d say..”Okay Christina your readers have gone to fold the washing now, they’ll be back when something interesting happens.”
It’s a point I always stick with, when I’m reading and writing.
Will my readers fold up washing on this paragraph? Am I waffling on too much?
I genuinely thought it was a work of self publishing. How can any editor or publisher allow such grammar and pointless mistakes, seep into the final copy? No editor would let their client humiliate themselves like this right?
Oh no… apparently they would.
Also, there were such cliched terms such as ‘white like a ghost.’ Now…I’ve never seen a friggin’ ghost but I’m pretty sure they’re not ALL like the white pasty poltergeist freaks. White as a ghost’ NEVER works in serious, thriller novels.
Why? Well, the phrase pulls the readers away from the story and sends their minds to a pantomime image of a kid running around, draped under a white sheet shouting ‘boo’ on Halloween. It’s such a tired comparison.
There was also a simile that had my mind twisting in confusion. “He laughed like a drain.”
I thought the same thing you’re thinking.
Do drains laugh? I know it’s not literal but it’s such an odd comparison…I then started laughing.
If she HAD to stick in a simile there, laughed like a hyena would be more appropriate albeit cliche and overused…but we’d tend to go with cackle if we’re making that comparison.
‘Laughed like a drain’ has literally no sense. I started thinking of how she meant to phrase this. Did she mean his laugh was a deep throaty gurgle that sounds like water being sucked down a drain? There are so many better ways to phrase this.
Like, ‘he laughed, a deep rattle in his chest, like water being sucked down a drain.’
Another one, “cackles like a fishwife.”
Oh and DON’T get me started on this phrase… “Perhaps he’ll think I’ll pull a Sylvia Plath and walk into the sea.”
Um…are you sure you don’t mean stick your head in the oven because – THAT is what Sylvia Plath did, God rest her beautiful, talented soul!
Every literary lover knows this.
Virginia Woolf – was the one who walked into the sea!
HOW could this be allowed! Just how?
Overall the writing was just terrible. Now, I’m one for sticking books through till the end…but at this point I have to pull away. I literally could not care less about the characters, because they’re not real enough. And that includes the character of James who is such a panto villain, he actually tries to commit a murder in a hospital. Now I’ve worked for the NHS and I have to say – give them a break!
Jesus I know they’re not perfect but they’re not THAT incompetent!
Anyway, before you get bored of me ranting on and on I just have to say – this is MY OPINION…I’m sure there are some people out there who love the book. And hats off to you. No, really if you enjoyed it, that’s great.
But obviously you now know I disagree with you.
This is me signing off!