Needs More Showing And Less Telling. This is almost “Novel Writing 101” these days, but a classic and oft repeated bit of advice for new writers is that they should *show* the actions of their characters rather than *tell* the readers about it. Here, Grisham – a normally masterful storyteller and legend in the business – somehow manages to miss that, to the detriment of the overall tale here. The tale itself, a multi-generational saga tracing two families through 60 or so years of Coastal Mississippi history, is actually quite good. I was 15% into the tale before I even realized it, and not much had happened at that point. The back quarter to third or so could *really* have been quite legendary in its own right with more showing and less telling, but even in this format it was still a compelling tale. The ending is a bit abrupt and perhaps too open-ended for some readers, but other than the abruptness I thought it actually worked reasonably well. But getting there, across nearly 500 pages that other readers have compared to investigative nonfiction rather than an legal fictional thriller, can in fact be a bit of a slog. Still, other than the “show don’t tell” aspect, there really isn’t anything here to actually say “this is particularly bad” about. Thus, only the single star reduction. Still, this really is a great tale for those who can bear with it, and for that reason it is very much recommended.
This review of The Boys From Biloxi by John Grisham was originally written on October 17, 2022.
Awesome Yet Also Problematic. This story is Beck’s usual excellence as far as storytelling itself goes. Beck sucks you in with the aftermath of almost a Hangover (movie) type night (though to be clear, not *that* wild) where three women – two sisters and their friend – have made life-changing decisions… and now have to handle the repercussions. We open the story the morning after, and only ever get the high level details of what happened that night – the story is about life *after*. And for two of the three women, Beck does *amazing* work showing that even in screw-ups, good things can happen. The other lady’s story is the more problematic one, and it comes from Beck’s own unfamiliarity with the growing subculture of the childfree. Seeming without meaning to, Beck confronts this particular issue as much of society at large does… and unwittingly causes many eyes to roll. Having been a part of this community for several years (I’m a 38yo DINK – Dual Income No Kids and happily childfree), know that if you’re a part of this community and in particular a woman in it, this storyline is going to make you want to throw this book off the nearest dam or into the nearest bonfire. But don’t, because the other two subplots are truly excellent, and even this one is dealt with *some* degree of realism. Overall an excellent book, and let’s face it – even with its growing popularity, the life of the childfree isn’t exactly dominant yet. Meaning most readers will enjoy all three subplots very much. Very much recommended.
This review of The Happy Accidents by Jamie Beck was originally written on August 16, 2021.
This week we’re looking at a fun tale that showed a fairly large set of steel balls in both its writing and its ending. This week we’re looking at You Will Remember Me by Hannah Mary McKinnon.
As always, the Goodreads review:
Misery Loves Company. McKinnon gets bold, trying to tell one cohesive story from three separate primary perspectives – and largely having it work. The ending itself isn’t quite as mind-bending as her 2020 release Sister Dear, and perhaps elements of it are in fact fairly well established much earlier in the text. But it also isn’t *quite* so predictable as some other reviewers make it seem, as many of the actual details aren’t really known until McKinnon actively reveals them. And then that ending. Mind-bending? No. But showing that McKinnon has balls bigger than many male authors? Absolutely. 😉 Very much recommended.
And in quite possibly a first for this blog (which will actually be repeated in about a month… 😉 ), we have a surprise! This week’s Featured New Release is ALSO a Blog Tour! After the jump, an excerpt followed by the publisher information! 🙂
Continue reading “Featured New Release Of The Week: You Will Remember Me by Hannah Mary McKinnon”