It’s Not You, It’s Me (2)
Every reader is bound to hit a slump; not every book can live up to my high expectations so this happens, from time to time. In the immortal words of George Costanza, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Some books just don’t work for me, whereas other readers may really enjoy them. This is a feature I pull out periodically to showcase books that I’ve either never finished or reviewed, including the dreaded DNF. I unoriginally stole this idea from one of my favorite book bloggers, Christina, at Confessions of a Book Addict (thank you, Christina!).
Author: Dexter Palmer
Published by Pantheon Books (February 23, 2016)
Kindle version, 512 pages
I was really excited about this one, mostly because of the description and the pre-release buzz; in addition, this author is new to me and this type of read is a little different than my usual choices. I have to admit that, even when I was dying to finish (sometimes out of boredom), the novel remained intriguing to me. This was one of those experiences where I kept reading, holding out for a miracle, because I just knew that something amazing would happen and I would be able to shout about this one from the rooftops; unfortunately, it never happened. It’s a good book; a solid effort (in my humble opinion) by a celebrated author, and I’m sure it will receive plenty of praise. Palmer definitely injected some commentary, dealing with issues of race, social media and the manner in which we give our lives over to technology, sexism and religion; for me, it felt like too much for one novel. A more sophisticated, intellectual reader may have an entirely different experience. For an extremely well-written take on this (exactly what I would’ve said if I were a writer with Catherine’s skill!), check out this review by Catherine at The Gilmore Guide to Books.
Work Like Any Other Author: Virginia Reeves
Published by Scribner (March 1, 2016)
Kindle version, 272 pages
As with the aforementioned title, I was excited by the premise behind this debut: a prideful electrician in 1920s rural Alabama struggles to overcome past sins and find peace after being sent to prison for manslaughter. This could easily have been a win for me because it includes several elements that I really love! I know, I know, I can be a really picky reader. There’s nothing wrong with conversation back and forth between characters in a novel…as long as it propels the story forward. After reading along through 20% of this one, I was really trying to make it work; by 25%, I was done. When I’m only a fourth of the way through a novel, and I see no light at the end of the tunnel, it’s tough for me to continue on if I have not experienced any connection to keep me interested. The issues covered in this novel are definitely significant and deserve more attention; hopefully, it will work out for other readers.