By Kathryn Davis
Little, Brown & Company Publishing
Do not....let me repeat, DO NOT read this book. Well, attempt to read may be more accurate. What a huge letdown this book was! I read the synopsis: a story about a place where the world of the living blends with the world of the dead--sounded kind of cool! I like ghosts. I liked the movie "Ghost". I liked "The Sixth Sense". Heck, I even liked "Ghostbusters". So I got the book and started reading.
The story starts out with three friends taking a trip to the beach. They see a guy laying on the sand and make the realization that he's not breathing. So two of the friends leave to go get help. The third girl stays. Turns out he doesn't end up dead after all, although there's no explanation about what happened.
Then after just a few pages more, I was mightily confused. Several more characters had been introduced into the story, but not much description. Who are all these people? After 20 pages, I couldn't keep one character straight from another. And new characters were being introduced left and right, with no description of who they were and why I was reading about them. Several characters were introduced in such a horrid manner, that I wasn't even sure which gender they were. And many of the characters had odd and ambiguous names "Mees, Piet, Sonny, Billie", which didn't help (turns out Billie is female.....I think).
The story jumps from a pack of dogs roaming around town killing chickens, to a person (female, I think) who has an embarrassingly quiet crush on a man, then to an unhappily joined couple with a husband who lives in a tent, then to a single lady with a cat who has a "friend with benefits", then to a group of folks who are trapping a bunch of beavers, then to someone's daily horoscope, then to a police blotter, then to a group of girls being followed by a creepy guy in a Dart, then to a crazy lady at church and the group of self-righteous churchgoers that are trying to keep the crazy lady out of the church, then to a woman who was in the hospital after a car accident that we never read about..... Then finally, somewhere around page 170, you find out that Mees (the girl who stayed with the dead guy on the beach) has some kind of gift. Of course, the author doesn't tell you what kind of gift. No no! Lucky you, you are expected to infer that her gift is something to do with raising the dead.
So here I am, 170 pages into this book. And here is the first hint of something (anything) that has to do with the synopsis on the pretty little dust jacket. Frankly, I was a bit miffed. I read a few more pages, but the story (if you want to call it that) kept jumping from one of these strange little scenarios to another, laced with these characters that you can't connect to at all because they haven't been described at all. Is that a female? Is she tall? Is she a brunette? Is she young? Is she old? You can't picture anybody so there's no way to connect to any of them at all and there's no way to connect them to the completely unapparent story that is supposedly going on around them.
I mean, isn't the whole point of a person writing a book to tell a story?
I read a few more pages after that then decided to stop wasting my time. If anyone knows me at all, they know it is a rare, rare book that I don't finish. But this one was just such an utter waste and there was not one redeeming factor about it, so I can't even give it half a bookmark.
Oh, and I did have a little chuckle when I sat down to write this review as I checked out the "reviews" on the back of the dust jacket. You know, the comments that the author gets another author to write for them? My favorite was "What an odd and entrancing novel The Thin Place is? (by Andrea Barrett). Another was "The Thin Place combines elements that ought to be unmixable..." (by Mary Gordon) And lastly, "Davis's approach to novel writing is so original and the results so magical that trying to review her fiction in a thousand words on a tight deadline feels as doomed as trying to review one of Blake's prophetic books." (by A.O. Scott of Newsday)
It was hilarious! The reviews on the back of the dust jacket were insults hidden in praise-ish words! It was awesome.
So needless to say, I am not recommending anyone read this book. Really. Don't beat your head against a wall like I have for the past four days.