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Preview — Blame by Michelle Huneven
So my review of this novel is kind of like reviewing an old friend because I’ve been reading this book over the course of the last couple months for my Novel Writing class. Reading something over a couple months span I’ve realized has its pros. I feel like I have a really firm grasp on this novel and the characters because I’ve spent so much time with it. For my class, I had to break down the novel and really spend an adequate amount of time ...more
Imagine waking up from an alcohol-induced blackout to be informed that you’ve killed two innocent people by driving drunk and are now in jail, awaiting sentencing. You, leading a standard middle-class life except for thi ...more
Patsy Maclemoore is no hero or survivor. For most of the book she is a conventional upper middle-class professor who finds herself in prison for half of the book and a wife and stepmother for the other half. Except for the usual minor dramas and traumas of American life, nothing happens. She learns the rhythms of the diminished and controlled environment of safe minimum security prisons, bu ...more
Often I read as an armchair traveler, visiting locations I will never go to physically. But there is a special pleasure derived from a book set in ...more
Huneven is a beautiful writer and I am off next to reserve her earlier titles at my local library. She moves this story unflinchingly through pain and betrayal, and doesn't cut anyone any slack. Yet she treats the characters kindly, and doesn't reduce anyone to a cartoon.
My vote for best quote from this book comes ...more
Do not read the book jacket flap.
I don't read a lot of popular fiction. However, I couldn't stop reading this one--I read the entire book in one day.
Blame is about guilt, redemption, forgiveness, love, understanding oneself, and maturing. A young woman, Patsy, frequently drinks until she blacks out. You know she's headed for disaster before she finds herself in prison for killing two people while driving during one of her black outs.
I don't think I'm giving anything away, as every review I've
The plot itself is extremely intriguing though there's not a lot of action: this story is a slow simmer throughout, never quite coming to a boil; even the critical moment is reserved and quiet, though nonetheless enthralling.
When one ...more
- Again, I liked the author's writing style. A lot. She rivals my favorite authors with her use of language and her descriptions.
- The plot was somewhat compelling... but in an almost trashy sort of way.
Given #1 (and also #2) it made sense for me to finish it. I also thought it was worthwhile to finish this book because I wanted to explore what it was that I didn't like about i ...more
There was much that ...more
It's another morning in the county drunk tank for Patsy, who is sadly inured to this ritual. She wakes up in her vomit and her filth, with no recall of last night--she experiences frequent blackouts when she drinks. A young, talented, comely, and statuesque college professor, Patsy is nevertheless on a grease skid to oblivion due to untreated alcoholism. This time she is accused of running down and killing a mother and daughter in her driveway, and her life subsequently takes a turn to prison.
Was I driving again? Moi? Sans license?...more
The men gazed at the nicked and thinning oak veneer as if they were poring over a war map, as if she were not in the room.
Okay, what’d I do? Or do
Blame is identified as “a Novel” in its title. Since the title of the book is important, including for the marketing of a book, why would an author (or a publisher) want to include the designation of “novel” in what ...more
¶ "Blame" (Sarah Crichton Books, 291 pages, $25), by Michelle Huneven: Anyone who has been on a bender will read the first chapters of "Blame" with thank-God-it-wasn't-me relief and the anxiety of knowing it could have been.
¶ History professor Patsy MacLemoore has a new doctorate, blond good looks and a problem with alcohol. She awakes from a blackout in jail and asks her lawyer and the police, jokingly, "Did I kill someone?"
¶ Two Jehovah's Witnesses, a mother and daughter ...more
One of my biggest problems with this book is the fact that it tells you there's a "huge twist" on the dust jacket. Once you start reading it you are just waiting for the twist, which is obvious from the start, but doesn't happen until almost the end of the book. I was incredibly disappointed that the ...more
overall I think that the many voices the author took to tell the story was just too much! There was a lot of back and forth between Joey and Patsy. She needed to start with one narrator and make her work the entire way through the book.
At the end, when there was potential to wrap up the story in a neat little bow, the author ruined it by throwing in yet another twis ...more
I found it hard to get invested in Patsy's character; I'm not sure the author is very much invested with her. There is very little content about Patsy's prison term; her feelings and how she coped while incarcerated. Overall, the prose is just too choppy fo ...more
This story is about Patsy's downward spiral into alcoholism and her long climb back out into society. This book captured my interest from page 1. The author's non-use of quotation marks let me experience the fo ...more
I was born in Altadena, California just a mile from where I live now. I college-hopped (Scripps, Grinnell, EWU) and landed at the Iowa Writer¹s Workshop where I received my MFA.
My first two books, Round Rock (Knopf 1997) and Jamesland (Knopf 2003), were both New York Times notable books and also finalists for the LA Times Book Award. My third novel, Blame, (Sarah Cr ...more