There are so many things I have to say about this book and I honestly don't know where to begin. I think, first off, I'd like to start out by announciThere are so many things I have to say about this book and I honestly don't know where to begin. I think, first off, I'd like to start out by announcing one pretty big detail: this was one of, if not the first official adult novel I've ever really read. And my first who-done-it type thing. I'm not ashamed to admit my previous adult-novel virginity. Adult novels have always struck me as those distantly, incredibly boring novels that would go right over my head. But, despite all that, I've found myself desperately wanting to read more into investigative type novels, something still fabulously fiction, but more on the mature, darker side. Less Twilight and more Crimimal Minds. So thus, I found myself picking up this book. And here's where my review actually begins:
This, I think, is perhaps my favorite book I've ever read in my entire eighteen years of life. See, I've had a lot of "favorite books" previously, kind of like I can imagine what it feels like when you think a crush is love until you actually fall in love for the first time. My previous favorites all had one common theme: the main character was someone I would die to meet in real life. I mean, literally, die to meet. But what makes French's novel so different, and the reason I can say for certain that her book is my official favorite, is the fact that it wasn't Adam Ryan I fell in love with. Sure, he had his moments and I felt a sympathy for the way he could never face the one event that arguably molded him into the adult he grew up to be- but he sure as hell did a lot to piss me off. The way he treated Cassie after they crossed that line was simply unacceptable and his infatuation with the devil himself when it was so blatantly obvious she was screwing him over from day one made me want to hurl. Hurl, as in hurl his body preferably off a cliff. But despite the fact that I disliked him, I felt the upfront honesty in which he displayed everything throughout the story- admitting he knew he was no saint, not even close- madee feel a bond with him, even if it wasn't one born out of love nor specifically hate.
Another characteristic my "favorite" novels share, probably the most important in my eyes, is the ending. I have always had this deep craving for happy endings in anything fictional: open endings, endings where the main character is not satisfied, where I'm not satisfied, have always been my least favorite thing. In this novel, during which it finally looked like the heartless mastermind behind Katy's death was going to be recognized for the monster they were, I remember being so cautious. I thought, 'there are so many bad endings in this world alone, so many monsters in reality get away- please give me this small triumph, Tana.' And then the scales tilted and it became apparent that this wasn't going to be a happy ending, not for Katy Devlin and the justice the little ballerina writing in her diary deserved. The literal psychopath was getting to walk away while the truth of a little girl's murder was going to remain untold to their community.
By the time I put this book down after finishing it, I had gone through a range of emotions. Anger at the circumstance in which the ultimate killer was getting away free, -because it is my personal belief that you know who ultimately signed Katy's death, whether they actually took the rock to her head or not- frustration, denial, and than acceptance. And than I went back to my initial thought of the world being so full of all these monsters getting away with things and suddenly- I loved the end. I don't know if that makes me insane but that ending- it felt true. It wasn't some fake pretty present wrapped in a bow where all loose ends get tied. No, In The Woods did not end in a fairytale way I truly would have wanted, where the fucking demon with a pretty face gets locked up in jail to rot for the rest of her life and some magical potion brings Katy back from the dead, fully restored so she can go on to her dancing school and focus on the thing that made that little girl happiest, and Peter and Jamie suddenly call up Adam after twenty years telling him they're fine. It didn't have that happy ending because life does not dole out happy endings like politicians hand out campaign ads.
The fact that Adam never got any closer as to what happened with his two childhood friends that day in the woods- that felt true too. Honestly, the case was twenty years old and I don't think I ever believed he would somehow happen to stumble across the truth while on a completely separate case. To me, it was never an option and that probably means I missed the whole point of the book- but that just honestly never seemed plausible to me to begin with.
No, this is not what I probably would have wanted, not the way I would have chosen the book to end- but life is not a Disney movie waiting to happen and no one gets to just merrily ride off in the sunset. And now I sound like a pessimist cynic but it's reality.
P.S Did anyone notice the reference to Cassie and the mythological Cassandra ? No ? Just me, going insane ? With her whole 'telling the truth/being right but no one listens/believes ?' I don't know, my mythology is a little rusty, it just kinda caught my attention. ...more
So. I just finished this book and honestly? It's not the type of book I would have ever picked up voluntarily. But AP Literature is basically the clasSo. I just finished this book and honestly? It's not the type of book I would have ever picked up voluntarily. But AP Literature is basically the class that says 'you will read this book and you will form a coherent opinion about it. Unless you want to fail, of course.' And so an opinion I have formed. Though I'm not going to lie, it's not very coherent, though it is definitely spoiler-y. For all those who are reading this to try and figure out whether it's worth the read or not. . . Well. My review will not be of any use to you, because I really don't know the answer to that question. Did I like this book? Uhm. No. But, knowing what I know now after reading it, would I -if I could- go back in time and tell myself earlier on to read it and stop procrastinating because it's not bad like some of the books my eyes have been burnt by? Why yes, yes I would. The book is interesting, if nothing else, and if you have to read it like I did? I will tell you with an air of superiority because I've already read it, that you will get through it. Maybe not happily, but I promise, there is a light at the end of that tunnel, babydoll.
(view spoiler)[ The only thing I really want to talk about concerning this book, the only thing that is eating me away: Guitar. Motherfudging Guitar, man. Why do I always fall in love with the crazies? The moment Sara grows attached to a character and announces said attachment, you can be sure the author/creator of fiction is gonna scream PLOT TWIST and turn them into a murderer and/or psychopath. Seriously. It. Never. Fails.
My baby Guitar was no exception, dears. I was so enraptured by this character in the beginning. I was like, "Morrison, what a fabulous creation you have gifted this book with. In the midst of all the crazy bullshit drama, you have placed one solid fixture of sanity that I can be grateful for." I could genuinely identify with every deep speech about life (the doe thing, anyone?) and passionately enraged words about the unfairness of the way whites were treating blacks during this time period. Every time he started with some wise words, I was just like,
"Preach, baby, preach. Tell that airhead of a best friend you got there the ways of the world."
And then he started talking about his dreaded racial ratios theory and how it was Seven Days' jobs to avenge crimes that were done to blacks AND THEN Morrison went and made him the Sunday man. Sunday. Friends. Can we just take a moment and cry about this, please? How such an intelligent creature became such a madman, turning into a murderer with a specialized day of 'avenging' on the Holy day. Listen. I'm not actually religious, m'kay? Like, yeah no. But even I know a religious symbol when it is blinking in neon lights in front of my face. I just. I don't understand. I don't understand how I could go from loving a character so much and being so incredibly grateful for his presence in a book, to screaming, "wait. . . No. No no no no!"
I think that's what hurt the most about this book? That my favorite character got turned into a psycho. But, at the same time, I think that's also what made this book so interesting to me? And I swear I'm not a crazy person like Guitar or anything, it's just. All the family drama, incest, crazy stories, just made it impossible for my brain to settle on one thing? The nonstop, increasingly soap-opera note to this novel made it hard for me to recognize anything important about this book aside from the fact that Milkman has one screwed up family. And then Guitar's arc came into the picture and it was something I could make sense of? Not that his crazy ideals make any sense, but I could clearly see the familiar archetype present in other books: a fall from grace.
I mean. I just finished this book like two hours ago. So my brain is still trying to. . . digest. Because brains digest, didn't ya know?
And that is all I have to say about this book. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more