13 October 2012

The Good Fight (Andrew Grey)

I just finished reading Andrew Grey's The Good Fight and rated it three and a half stars on GoodReads. I know such a rating probably seems harsh, but I am really on the fence with this book. The premise was both fascinating and heart-breaking - to prevent children from being with their family simply for monetary gain is abhorrent. So John's struggle to gain custody of his niece and nephew had me glued to the page. I also loved the insight into the bonds of family. What didn't work for me so much was John and Jerry's relationship. It just felt...two-dimensional. Because the book is written in the first person from Jerry's POV I never got to experience what John was thinking and/or feeling. But to honest I felt like I very rarely got to experience what Jerry was thinking or feeling. There was no 'why'. Both men got to 'I love you' within 4 months. Getting to 'I love you' (and moving in together with children in tow) is a pet peeve of mine, as I prefer a more slowly developing relationship, so I try not to hold it against a book when it makes an appearance. As I tried to do with this book. But to do that I needed to know why Jerry was in love with John. And I definitely needed John to articulate verbally (since we didn't have his POV) why he loved Jerry. I needed to be told...but I wasn't. Which is frustrating, because the rest of the book was filled with telling me everything about what was going on. It felt like a step-by-step guide to their live rather than a living, breathing, organic showing of their life. Which is what I need from a book. I need to be involved, invested. And I wasn't. Not in John and Jerry's relationship anyway.

Another small frustration was Jerry's past relationship/brush with the mob. At one point in the story he wakes up from a nightmare with the name of his ex-lover (who was in the Mob) - Carlos - on his lips. And then the next day feels like he was being watched. For a minute I thought the author was going to bring back Carlos for a suspense subplot and was all but screaming 'No' at the book. The author didn't, for which I was very glad, but...why throw those red herrings in there when they didn't lead anywhere? Which leads me to another small frustration. Jerry hires both John and another man, Bryce, when he expands his small business. Both are gay. Then at the end of the book the social worker was gay. And although at one point Jerry worried about holding hands with John in public, he came out to both John and Bryce without even thinking about it. It just felt...slightly contradictory.

So, you're probably wondering why, with all my issues, I rated the book as I did. It read well. It had a fascinating and heart-breaking premise that was well executed by the author. I just don't think the author's writing style works for me, but that is down to me - I need to be far more in the characters' heads and have a clear understanding of their motivations.

So, what have you read recently where the author's writing style just didn't work for you?

4 comments:

  1. Three and a half stars seems like a good rating to me. My mom recently read a book where the writing style drove her crazy. I convinced her to write a guest review for me and I'm posting it tomorrow! :)

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  2. 3.5 stars is higher than my average rating. :D

    It sounds like one of those books that was good, but had the obvious potential to be a lot better - those can be especially frustrating.

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  3. I think you've stated exactly why I have such a problem with 1st person POV. We never really get into the other people's heads and that's so frustrating. I don't want to know ONLY what is in one person's head! Now saying that I actually read 1st person now rather than throw them across the room like I used to. lol

    The book sounds interesting but with everything going on with John it would have been nice to get more insight from him, I'm sure.

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  4. Tasha - I look forward to your mother's review! Very exciting!

    Chris - I have huge problems rating below three stars. I feel guilty doing so. Saying that, this book wasn't bad. It was well written, but...just didn't work for me.

    Tracy - I used to loathe first person POV. (No book throwing - LOL - I just didn't read them.) But then I read Deanna Raybourne's Silent in the Grave and realized how good it can be :) But I think it needs the one connection we have with the other character to...IDK...muse on their thoughts. Or have those characters speak them.

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