Loved it? Hated it? Discuss below! (Let me know if you post on your blog!) My thoughts? Ho hum. I wanted the book to be so much MORE. I was really intrigued by the description. I enjoyed the first part of the book the most, the story of Cheryl and Jason.
“As far as I could tell, Jason and I were the only married students to have attended Delbrook. It wasn’t a neighborhood that married young. It was neither religious nor irreligious, although back in the eleventh grade English class I did a tally of the twenty-six students therein: five abortions, three dope dealers, two total sluts, and one perpetual juvenile delinquent. I think that’s what softened me up for the conversion; I didn’t want to inhabit that kind of moral world. Was I a snob? Was I a hypocrite? And who was I to even judge? Truth be told, I wanted everything those kids had, but I wanted it by playing the game correctly?”
The next line?
“Jason was right: Miss Priss.”
Slam. My dad called ME Miss Prissy. Yikes. While I really enjoyed the beginning of this story, I quickly felt that the author dramatically overplayed the school shootings and the violence.rarely excite me, hence my disliking of The West Wing which everyone else in the world thought was so cleverly written.) Overplayed works, if the entire story is overdone to the point of being satire. But this book didn’t cross that line for me. One minute it was just a story wanting desperately to be telling so much more…and the next trying to be *dark* and overdone to make a point, that was printed, but not necessarily developed through the characters stories. Perhaps if the *letters* and the shifting point-of-view ran through the pages smoother the author’s points would have come through? (Past? No present, wait dead? Future? Augh! Nephews? Sons?) I thought that author did a tremendous job of introducing the character of the father in Jason’s chapter. Asshole indeed. I felt for Jason. But somehow, while the chapter went on? I felt annoyed by Jason.
“Redemption exists, but only for others, I believe, and yet I lack faith. I tried building a private world free of hypocrisy, but all I ended with was a sour little bubble as insular and exclusive as my father’s.”
Wah, wah, wah. Somehow I got lost trying to care. Erin thought the author should have made the story about Jason and His Father. I agree that this story had so much untapped potential. However I did like the beginning story of Cheryl and Jason as well. I guess the concept of telling the central story (whatever that was) got tangled up in way too many people and tangents and things I could care less about in the following chapters. Which I think is a real shame, because like I said, I really thought the story had potential.
“The harder people try to be the opposite of their parents the quicker they become them. It’s a fact.”
The brother? Yeah. Who cares. He dies. Jason becoming the husband of his brother’s newly-widowed sister turn wife? A little out there, but again, since the entire story didn’t lend itself to outrageousness (or at least well written outrageousness that made me care) I could have done without this whole stupid mess. Getting married in the same chapel doesn’t add any nuances to Jason’s tortured past, it just annoyed me. And the newly-wedded widow becoming a murderer? Whatever.
“I didn’t know what to say, because I was thinking, Oh God, this is how my father left back in 1988.”
Yeah, yeah we get it. Moving on… Part three? Heather. What a waste of space. The psychic story was ridiculous. I didn’t feel like I saw another side of Jason because this chapter read just like all the others. All I learned was, um, nothing. Characters that existed when only the two of them were together?
“In the end, I think the relationships that survive in this world are the ones where two people can finish each other’s sentences. Forget drama and torrid sex and the clash of opposites. Give me banter any day of the week. And our characters were the best banterers going.”
Yeah, highly unusual for a couple to have their own little *code* and *phrases* and *stories* blech. As the book went on, I became more and more frustrated that each character had to constantly remind the reader that they were writing a letter. On pink paper? Into a courtroom system? At Kinko’s? Who cares! I’m smart enough to understand the writing of the letter, thank you very much. Part Four? Reg. (The father) By this point in the book, I wanted it to be over. I thought perhaps something would be resolved through the father’s chapter, but no… All in all? I wanted to read the last two chapters because I wanted to know what was going to happen. What a waste of time. And that my friends, would be my two cents.