Monday, July 6, 2015

Reconstructing Amelia

The reviews are, in general, miserable.  The comparisons to Gone Girl - incorrect and disconcerting.  Stylistically inconsistent.  Yet, I like it.  The first fifty or so pages had me begging for relief, or a razor blade (to slice pages) but in time, that changed.  This has all the earmarks of a first novel, and for that I will forgive the author and blame her editor.

Drawn out, inconsequential narratives opening the book violated the first lesson presented in all Creative Writing 101 courses - "Show, don't tell".  And, in time, that began to happen.  The author allowed characters to speak; she let them reveal themselves through believable dialogue along with some internal commentary.  Her characters are sharply defined and she gives us enough reason to suspect each one that I wanted to read to the end.

What's more, the outcome is logical.  Sure, the plot is predicated upon secrets and the frightening, underground life that some teens live.  But as Amelia's pained life unfolds, it is easy to see how the pieces fit together.  Amelia jumps from atop a fancy pants private school building.  Or does she?  That become the issue at hand, that and the fact that her mom, a professional, single mom, is riddled with guilt over her parenting skills.  My strongest gripe with the book is just that - why is the working single mom so often villainized? 

As I consider the book as a whole, I think readers' negative  perceptions are caused not by the book itself, but by the marketing.  It is not a second Gone Girl and for that I am grateful.  The only similarly is that  they are both suspenseful.  Also, Reconstructing Amelia  has been marketed to adults, when it really is more suited to a young adult audience.  Books written for the YA set seldom satisfy adult reading needs in the same way that a book like The Road would - YA novels are simply substantively lighter.  Nothing wrong with that but so often these days publishers attempt to cross market books and that just doesn't work.

Here's my snarky thought for the day : Hey, all you people who had to film the fireworks with your smatphones or tablets - I hope you enjoy watching the blurry substandard amazing light show that you could have seen live had you put your devices down.  Wow.  It seems that devices have taken control of us. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Thanks for stopping by.