The Lincoln Lawyer is a strange one for me. My feelings towards this book can be best summed up as - well, I was enamoured with it until I wa2.5 stars
The Lincoln Lawyer is a strange one for me. My feelings towards this book can be best summed up as - well, I was enamoured with it until I wasn't.
This was a VERY slow one for me - I read the first 60% in about a week, then I just...stopped. I took a HUGE break and I'm not even sure why. I got into it all right, and I liked Connelly's very matter-of-fact, direct, simple style...until I didn't. I don't really know what changed, but something did. Perhaps this book is just too long? The punchy, no-nonsense style works for a very intense, dramatic book with lots of twists and turns, but frankly this book had too many pages and too few twists and turns to sustain this kind of pace. Therefore, instead of feeling quick and explosive, it was a damp squib, utterly bloodless.
Essentially, it's a by-the-numbers legal thriller. The LA setting invested me to start with, but it's not remotely palpable beyond the odd name-drop of a place - "Boulevard", "Ventura" etc. The main character is a schlub with a conscience (of course he is) and, for all the blurb's promise of him being a "sleazy defence attorney", Connelly keeps everything very black and white by making his opponent, despite being a prosecutor, also a total sleaze and ensuring that, though Mickey does his job, he does it without any relish. He also doesn't do anything particularly controversial or dramatic. There is nothing original about The Lincoln Lawyer - sleazy rich boys, platonic prostitutes, an ex-wife he still loves, a daughter he never sees. You've seen all this before, and Connelly doesn't even seem to be TRYING to add anything new.
The fact that it says "Mickey Haller, #1" up there should already give this away - there's zero sense of danger. Sure, so Mickey occasionally appears like he might be up on a murder charge or that he's pissed off the wrong person, but he's not exactly going to die, go to prison or get disbarred. This is where the punchy style totally fell flat. It should have made the pages fly and instead it just robbed the weak and unoriginal plot of any emotional or dramatic impact. For instance, when Haller figures out (quickly, so this isn't going under spoiler tags) that Roulet isn't the "innocent guy" Haller thinks he is, I don't care, because Connelly didn't give me any reason to care about Roulet's innocence or guilt. It's just a standard legal story - Haller takes a case that should be simple, turns out it's not, somebody he loves dies, gets in too deep and then pulls himself out with the help of minor characters we've seen before.
Yet I can't quite drop the rating all the way because there was SOMETHING in those first pages that kept me turning them. There are good moments and I enjoyed the minor characters like Lorna (where did she go?!), Raul and Gloria. This seems like it's crying out for a film adaptation (I'm not surprised that there was one) because it seems to be begging actors to breathe life into the paper-flat characters, deliver the quick dialogue, set designers and directors to illuminate the Los Angeles setting and a half-decent scriptwriter to flesh out the basic plot. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for Connelly. ...more
I am not going to use spoiler tags during this review, but I am going to spoil the novel. The reason why I'm not using spoiler tags is, frank1.5 stars
I am not going to use spoiler tags during this review, but I am going to spoil the novel. The reason why I'm not using spoiler tags is, frankly, this book is so short that it's impossible to discuss it at all without spoiling something. But the larger reason is that everything is SO BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS that I really don't see the point. Anyway, consider this a spoiler warning, but also a tip off that the spoilers don't really matter that much, because I don't think I reveal anything that you couldn't guess from reading 20% of this very short novel.
This book is extreme Helen Fitzgerald. For people who aren't aware what that entails, usually it's complex, not always likeable heroines, black humour, twists and messed-up characters who insist upon messing each other up further.
The book is split into two very short sections. One is about Barbara, a lonely seventeen-year-old in the 1970s who is very book smart but totally socially tone-deaf. I mean totally. This girl makes Carrie White look adept in social situations. When a girl is mean to her, it is Barbara's natural instinct to bribe her for 'help' in becoming more socially acceptable. I thought it would be natural for me to pity and be invested in a main character like Barbara: she is still spiralling from her parents' death in a car crash (which she "caused" when she was ten) and abandoned with her uncle, an alcoholic mad scientist, which results in her obsession with cheesy self-help books and an average boy at her school named Tim, who reminds her of her father.
Yet her voice is just so off. I know my entire review is contradicting this impression, but I love weirdness. I love strange, offbeat characters. But this entire book just felt like 'trying too hard' to me.
Barbara isn't just awkward or uncertain. She's entirely fucking moronic. Reading her section is deeply frustrating more so than compelling or interesting because I just wanted to scream "can't you see?" throughout - can't you see that Tim doesn't want you, the bitches at school don't like you, everyone is setting you up for humiliation? Maybe this is the point, and maybe I should be praising rather than criticising Helen Fitzgerald for this. I don't know. I guess the reason why my rating remains so low is that I just couldn't enjoy this book in any capacity.
However, I think I have a good way for you to figure out if this book is for you or not:
Barbara, on the subject of masturbation: "It was a little like my first chicken korma in that it was surprising and left me feeling rather full."
Now, it's not the masturbation subject that bothers me about that line. I can't quite tell you what it is. But, whenever I think of it, I feel sick. Typing it out now, I feel sick to my stomach. Just...comparing masturbation to a chicken korma is just gross to me, but it's not just gross, it's so goddammn weird. It just seems to stink of trying too hard. It's like Helen Fitzgerald has taken the dark humour that I so enjoyed in "The Devil's Staircase" and pushed it too far. Maybe that it's. I'm at my limit, and I just can't stomach this book.
Still, there is relief from Barbara's utterly two-dimensional, creepy and odder-than-odd behaviour (such as saying "I have a very sexy body" out loud to herself in the playground), in the second half of the novel, which belongs to Rowena, Barbara's daughter. Rowena is refreshingly normal, although she has been brought up by the still-loopy Barbara.
Now, this is the point where you may want to stop reading, though everything that occurs in Rowena's section is so heavily foreshadowed by what happens in Barbara's (if that makes sense), so none of it cam as the slightest surprise to me, but still...
...Rowena is also Barbara's clone. She is obviously not aware of this, thinking of herself just as Barbara's daughter. This is not a twist in any sense of the word because it's obvious from a short way into the novel that Barbara's Uncle Ben was working on cloning before he died.
Now, Barbara has created a deeply odd plan, fitting for such an odd character. Though Rowena has grown up normal, so refreshingly normal, with friends and boyfriends and hope for a future, Barbara is still fixated on her own lost 'love' for Tim, who rejected her after playing along at having a relationship and humiliating her by putting intimate pictures of her all over the school during a dance. Barbara is totally obsessed with the fact that her only conceivable happy ending would be to marry Tim as her parents married, when they were eighteen. So she has cloned Tim, too, and left him with the drug addict mentioned in the synopsis to grow up. Throughout Tim's life, he has been abused by his "mother", and Barbara has given him a 'shining light' in the form of Rowena. Barbara has given Tim pictures and videos of Rowena from when she was very young and kindled a total obsession with Rowena.
This is not inherently bad. There are well-written touches, such as the inscription on Ruth Warren's grave and the disturbing rape scene, which is one of the few moments where Rowena's journey emotionally affected me, when Tim #2's true craziness becomes obvious.
The problem is that none of it is surprising or even particularly interesting. Well, what do you think happens when Rowena, Barbara's totally normal daughter, finds out about this little plan? Understandably, she reacts with horror and disgust and wants to leave immediately. In response, Barbara and Tim #2 both become violent and irrational. Isn't all of it just so obvious? And most of it is deeply convenient, too. The deep weirdness of the novel seems without deep feeling, surprise or emotional resonance, so instead it's a mechanical journey through the inevitable....more
Mrs. Dalloway is an easy book to admire, but it's not an easy book to like or - dare I say it? - love. At least, not to me.
It is a series of vignettesMrs. Dalloway is an easy book to admire, but it's not an easy book to like or - dare I say it? - love. At least, not to me.
It is a series of vignettes. This is the first problem I had with it - I couldn't help but feel that Woolf tried to do so much, using a frame that was more like a series of interconnected short stories than a true whole. Was that the point? Perhaps the fragmented narrative was supposed to show the disconnection between the characters, the intense internal world that most of them inhabited vs. the real world that they were all wandering through. Still, I couldn't help but feel that that idea was best suited to a collection of short stories. I've seen a lot of people praising Woolf's insight, the way that she can encapsulate a broad range of emotions. Yet that was my fundamental problem with "Mrs. Dalloway" as a novel. The range is so broad, so sprawling, that it almost undermines the true moments of insight, such as the almost awful segment from Miss Kilman's perspective; her relentless binge-eating, as a comfort from a life of disappointments and shortcomings, is so viciously but brilliantly rendered that it had me cringing in my seat, but the impact of it felt lessened by the fact that I'd waded through 150+ pages before then of quite samey characters with quite samey narratives.
As I was saying, I liked "Mrs. Dalloway" in parts. The title is strange; it's not just a character study. Well, not one character. There are multiple characters, all of whom get quite similar moments in the limelight. The focus is more intensely honed on Peter Walsh or Septimus than Clarissa Dalloway herself. In addiiton to this, "Mrs. Dalloway" felt overlong to me. Despite being fairly short, it felt like a total slog to get through in parts. Although it takes a broad scope (the rich, the poor, the lucky and unlucky are all swept over by Woolf to a greater or lesser degree), most of the characters reflect on their predicaments in very similar. There are long memories of how their lives were; ruminations on how their lives are; loving evocation of London around them; more reflecting on the past; some unfair judgement of those around them; a brief, confusing topic shift and then a melodramatic high point punctuated by an exclamation mark!
Again, maybe Woolf is making a point about how all characters, whether rich, poor, shell-shocked or smug cycle through the same thoughts, how people really are alike all over. Still, this just felt so repetitive - the repetition is clever to begin with, showing how the same thoughts recur (Clarissa's hatred of Miss Kilman was great), but in the end, it just becomes a drag - and done in such an overlong, overheated way that I couldn't bring myself to care for any sustained period of time. Forget beating a dead horse -- Woolf pulps it. That brings me back to the scope and range of "Mrs. Dalloway": the emotions that the "Mrs. Dalloway" covers are, by nature, intense. But the length of the novel and the number of characters diffuses the intensity to such a degree that I just feel weary and irritated by it all. This is compounded by the fact that it covers a single day; the characters have thoughts that are strung together in a fairly coherent whole, but they are split up over a range of 20 pages before we return to them, which means that I can hardly remember it all.
I guess I was just too stupid for the deeper meanings of "Mrs. Dalloway."
Still, the setting of London is lovingly and evocatively told, and the final conversation between Sally Seton and Peter Walsh is lovely, a perfect encapsulation of what it feels like to meet people that you haven't seen in years, and - I imagine - what age must feel like. The book as a whole is sad but not morbid, both 'life-affirming' and affecting. The humour is fantastic - I found myself laughing out loud at some parts, but I wish it could have shown up with a little more frequency. In parts, the prose is so true that it actually hurts. My favourite section, without a doubt, is the final one:
"I will come," said Peter, but he sat for a moment. What is this teror? what is this ecstasy? he thought to himself. What is it that fills me with extraordinary excitement? It is Clarissa, he said. For there she was....more
[Note: I'm reviewing this quite a long time after I finished the book because I've been really busy for the past couple of months. I can still remembe[Note: I'm reviewing this quite a long time after I finished the book because I've been really busy for the past couple of months. I can still remember what I really disliked about this book, so I'm going to write the review, but I might be shaky on some of the precise details. Be warned.]
Are you a man who has lived alone for any portion of your life? Are you a man who can complete most domestic tasks? Are you a man who managed to dress yourself this morning?
If so - CONGRATULATIONS! I really don't know how you did it.
The distinct impression of men I get from Pearson is that they are, whether a high-flying businessman or not, one very obvious type. They can do nothing by themselves. At one point, Kate goes on a rant that men insist upon being waited on by all women in their life: first their mother, then they get married as a solution to no longer having a mother to clean up after them, and expect their wife to do notihng but take care of the house and the children. They get married not out of love, but out of the need to find a maternal substitute. Now, I don't have a utopian ideal of relationships or anything, but I did have the overwhelming sense that Pearson was bullshitting me. I understand that some men are like that - but come on. She met him at Cambridge. She was obviously a career girl from day one - yet, for some reason (my opinion: Pearson needed as much misogynistic fuel as she could to spin on her sexist plot), he's incapable of grasping the fact that he has to do things for himself while she's on her eight a.m-eight p.m. workday. But the worst element of all was in Robin Cooper-Clark, the bigwig whom Kate works for, that she has used as a nice foil to her husband's neediness and made me think that, yeah, maybe this reasonable and kind figure meant that I Don't Know How She Does It wasn't utterly mired in misandry.
But, oh, no. How wrong was I? When Robin Cooper-Clark's wife, Jill (view spoiler)[dies (hide spoiler)], he falls apart. Quite literally. When Kate sees him, she gives an icky, inappropriate monologue about how much he's let himself go. And there I was, thinking, "oh, it's because of grief, you stupid hag", Kate took one look at him and surmised it was because he couldn't cope without a woman in his life. Yep, that's right. Forget the fact that he's lost his wife, the woman he had children with and married for a good 25+ years. He just can't cope because men can't cope without women. But I Don't Know How She Does It wasn't quite at its nadir yet. Because, less than two months after that, Robin got back together with someone. Again, because men just can't cope without women. It was some creepy far-right feminist bullshit going on here, and I say that as a feminist. One of my dad's friends didn't remarry for thirty-five years after his wife died. I honestly don't know how he did it, if I believe Pearson's crap.
And all of this would have been slightly better if Kate hadn't had such a didactic freaking tone. She literally laid this stuff out for the reader in PARAGRAPHS. Some of the summaries I can remember: "Men are nothing without women." "Men except to be mothered by their wives." "All men are out to exploit, overwork and harass you." So, be warned, ladies! Better regroup in a strip club and plot revenge against your all-male antagonists. While I don't doubt that sexism is rife in the City, you wouldn't believe the extent to which Pearson hammered this home. Having a Dark Ages creep, Chris Bunce, wasn't enough. Literally all of the antagonists were male. The best binary opposition I can think of is present in minor characters, Kate's underlings, Momo (female) and Guy (male). While Momo is a quiet, well-educated young woman who gets mercilessly exploited by her male superiors, Guy is a supercilious twat whose good education is proof of what a dickhead he is, who is constantly trying to land Kate in it so that he can move up the City rungs. The only time Kate achieves anything remotely like active, she does so in an all-female group (Kate's dad is used for the plan, but totally passively, because he's so drunk and deluded, so its down to the women to move him like a chess piece). True, we have two totally 'good' male characters: Jack, who is Kate's minor 'love interest', but he's so cardboard cutout that I don't think he counts as a real character, because Kate never had to interact with him in a 'real' setting, and Winstone, but he's a perpetually stoned taxi driver whose car is full of marijuana smoke, so he's obviously outside of Kate's intense City world. Kate's dad is, as I've mentioned, a deluded alcoholic who abandoned his family. While Richard, Kate's husband, is not 100% sexist, he is definitely useless. Despite having an architecture job (which, as Kate smugly reminds us, is nowhere near as successdful as her job in finance), he can't clean the house, pick up any slack for Kate or treat her with anything other than mild confusion.
And then, we have the women. You would have thought that a book with such a rampant anti-man message could have scraped up a feminist message, don't you? Well, no. Pearson spits out this little gem about how "becoming a man is a waste of a woman." Out of context, you might think that that relates to intellectual challenge or whatever. Hell no. It refers to the stereotypical sticks of 1950s housewiving: motherhood, homemaking and putting out for your husband.
If I had to sum up the message of I Don't Know How She Does It (because it did give the constant feeling of having a lesson taught), it would be this: "Ladies, you're never going to be as respected as your male counterparts, and you're going to do half as a job as both a wife and mother, so why bother? Just jack in the successful job (even if it's the only way you feel truly empowered and intellectually exercised) and give yourself up to be a full-time mother."
That's what happens to Kate. Despite repeatedly telling the reader (quite reasonably, I thought) that her job made her feel good about herself and she didn't want to quit, plot contrivance - and not even very good plot contrivance: her son hurts his arm - slaps her around the head and shows her what a silly, selfish person she's been. She dumps the job, rejects all forms of compromise and settles down for boring domestic bliss in the country. Because that's all women are good for, am I right? Well, of course not. And, in all fairness, Pearson doesn't quite come out and say that. But when she recaps what happened to each of her major female characters, there was a strong tone of, "I don't know why they bother" about the women still in work, because Kate constantly hammered it home that no matter how good they were, they were never, ever going to be viewed as equals. There were also some huge plot holes in this approach. Obviously Kate and Richard are financially stable because Kate can finish at her (very well-paid) job and they can start over in the country. However, Kate refuses to take a job with Robin Cooper Clark which he promises her will be part time because she just doesn't believe that it will be. But, if she's so financially stable, she can quit at any time she wants? And surely a woman who doesn't need to be paid can look around for part-time work so she can have a better balance?
But onto another problem that I felt with I Don't Know How She Does It: class.
Kate is blatantly upper middle class. They have a big house, private school educated children and they're both Cambridge-educated. But one of the things that Kate thinks - and wants everyone else to think - makes her innately better than everyone else in this goddamn book that she comes from a working-class background. Not any old working class background - her sister is still trapped in a council-house-and-five-children life and her dad is an alcoholic gambler - and Kate thinks that her attachment to them makes her so much damn better because as she keeps reminding us, she's not upper-class like the rest of her peers and therefore she's not just better, but she's nicer, more relatable and more determined (what? I never saw any evidence of any of those informed attributes). For instance, this gem:
"Happy childhoods are no bloody good for drive and success."
So, basically, unhappy children make happy adults? I don't think so, lady. Last time I looked, most of the results of an unhappy childhood come in therapy, emotional scars and low self-esteem. Bear in mind, now, that she's also talking about her husband, Richard, who may be middle-class born and bred but still got into Cambridge, no mean feat even for a middle-class child and, while he may not be as wonderful and superior as St. Kate, does work at an architecture firm, which seems to be his dream job. Also, her sister, Julie, is the product of the exact same childhood that Kate had, yet it's hardly made her driven and successful: she's a lonely, impoverished womamn in a council house. All girls in the City apparently have Daddy issues. (The men aren't lucky enough to get Freudian excuses - they have the drive to succeed because they're men, and it's what men do. The City girls are all pathetic idiots and so are still subservient to men.)
Not only that, but Kate has several other moral jewels to hold up: Kate is very opposed to abortion. Rather than explaining this moral view (I'm really pro-choice myself, but my sister is anti-abortion), she simply sulks with Candy in a really disgusting scene. Candy is determined that she's not going to have children and so, when she gets pregnant (as the result of a one-night stand), she's going to have an abortion. Kate throws a hissy fit - like, I'm sorry, Mrs. Reddy, I wasn't aware that this was your body under discussion! - and her strongest argument is "you might regret it" (Candy is already 37 and has shown no sign of regretting it) and "a late abortion is not fun" - not contesting that point, but seriously? A late abortion is worse than bringing up a child you're not even sure you want? I'm not sure if I'm biased because my mum and I were talking about children a few nights ago and she basically said that her desire to have children was overwhelming and, yes, she was absolutely sure. Kate is proof that kids do swallow up your life, for better or worse, and that you have to be sure. Candy is not, yet Kate guilts her into keeping the baby. And of course having it is a wonderful transformative experience, because Candy realises how moronic she's been with her fun lifestyle and accepts her true purpose in life: motherhood!
Between disgusting, didactic sexism (both misogyny and misandry) and the most unlikeable female protaganist I think I have ever read, forget The Handmaid's Tale. I Don't Know How She Does It is the true feminist nightmare.["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
I am always in the unenthusiastic minority, aren't I?
Let me get one thing straight. I am not marking this book down because of the subject matter. YesI am always in the unenthusiastic minority, aren't I?
Let me get one thing straight. I am not marking this book down because of the subject matter. Yes, incest is disturbing and seems plain unnatural to people like you and me. But I was willing to judge it for the characters.
Did Tabitha Suzuma win me over?
Well, yes and no.
I would have INFINITELY preferred this book if it was in one POV. Maya and Lochan were always so incredibly similar in their narratives that it confused and deeply annoyed me. Two different characters, male and female, one highly intelligent (Lochan) and one practical but pretty average (Maya) -- yet they both spoke in the same flowery, literary, slightly pretentious tone? I could have bought it for Lochan, because his precocious intellect was established right away, but it was just way too much for me for Maya to speak in the same extended metaphors and purple prose. And it is almost single-handedly responsible for my low(ish) marking of the novel. While Suzuma has crafted a pretty good novel, the nature of two POVs needs to make me feel as though I am reading two characters, two different experiences, two voices. I didn't. I felt like I was reading Suzuma's voice, superimposed on Maya or Lochan. There is not enough variation and I often felt that the rawness of teenage emotions weren't captured amazingly well -- although Maya and Lochan are both adults before their time, I often felt (particularly with regards to Maya: Lochan was pretty well captured, although some of his 'distance' in regards to the panic attacks felt a little contrived) that there was too much emotional maturity here for two young adults.
Lochan was perhaps not an ideal character (NOT a very realistic boy -- or in fact not a realistic boy at all -- honestly, if it wasn't a novel about a brother and sister falling in love, I think we could even accuse Suzuma of falling prey to the cliched perfect paranormal romance love interest), but he was so well-thought and well-felt by Suzuma that it almost seemed like this book was a single-POV novel in its inception, and Maya was just an after thought. This hampered the book because it became increasingly obvious that it wasn't much of an even-handed narrative which excaberated the problem with the very similar POVs. Don't get me wrong: Maya was not a bad character. She had a lightness of narrative at times that was a blessed relief from Lochan's occasionally overheated over-emoting; my point about her is that she was mostly flat for quite a while and this was made very obvious by the development given to Lochan. However, I love Maya/Suzuma if only for one point (I'm being unfair, there was quite a lot more than that): that Maya could just have easily have been the bad guy in all of this, that she could have used emotional rather than physical force. That's the main reaason for my love of Boy Toy by Barry Lyga - the concept that men can be victims to women. So while that's not how it happens here, it was a relief to see someone else addressing it in YA fiction, as it's something I feel strongly about.
Although, the ending is pretty good. Kit, a once two-dimensional character, gets a beautiful and wrenching evolution -- Suzuma's sensitive writing evokes sympathy and understanding for him. On the whole, this is a very balanced book. You can see why Kit does what he does. There's no real finger pointing, except maybe their mother, who is an alcoholic hag caricature, although perhaps more realistic than I would like to believe. The way Suzuma writes of Lochan's downward spiral is the only decent part in a middling novel, dark, a true and raw gut punch that makes me wish I could honeslty give this book four stars. Until then, the pace of the book dragged somewhat for me, but perhaps that's because literary romance isn't really my sort of thing and despite the fact that they were obviously siblings, Suzuma seemed to lose sight of this a little way throughout the novel. Except Lochan's sporadic self-disgust (which was very well-written), Maya and Lochan felt a little like any other two troubled teens falling in love. The incest was always there to an extent, but I'll admit that because I have a short attention span for the whole cliched all-consuming love affair, I think she could have even gone a little darker (not content wise - Suzuma found the perfect balance most of the time, but I will discuss one of my reservations later) with Lochan's jealousy of Nico and some other parts. It just felt a little mundane, to the point where the KNOWLEDGE that they were brother and sister wasn't enough to put me through the emotional wringer.
But I had one huge problem with Forbidden. That is the big sex scene that occurs, the first one. (No, this is not really a spoiler. It's a dark Simon Pulse book about incest. Did you think they weren't going to have sex?) For a book that allegedly dealt with the darkness of being a teenage carer, of inappropriate feelings, of confusion and self-loathing, Suzuma seemed to be a little in love with her romantic cliches. Maya and Lochan's sex scene isn't awkward or disturbing. It's one of those oh-so-perfect scenes with fireworks and fire and MOST WONDERFUL MOMENT OF MY ENTIRE LIFE! declarations. All very paranormal romance to me. Maybe not 'sex solves everything' but so full of weird Mills & Boon cliches that it seriously ruined that element for me. Not dark, just fantastical and bizarre with the raw subject matter, and increased the Gary-Stu/Marty-Sue feelings about Lochan a little. I also didn't like the epilogue - it felt *too* depressing, too calculated. It felt like Suzuma had written it solely to make the reader cry, to get a blubbery reaction out of them. It didn't for me. The emotional manipulation felt far too obvious and uncomfortable for me. I like it when the emotions are organic and beautiful, not written in an oddly disjointed and very manipulative way to elicit specific reactions.
I really wanted to love Forbidden. And I sort of did - at least, I really liked it for the most part. I just wish I could have liked it a little more.
ETA: After thinking about this book for quite a long while, I've decided that I didn't really like it at all. The more I think about it, the less realistic and more wish-fulfillment-y Maya and Lochan (especially Lochan, who is a jealous creep if I ever saw one, insanely possessive of his little sister and almost appears to use his mental illness as a way to manipulate Maya). Any likeability I felt about Lochan has fast faded over time.
Also, thinkng about this review raises a huge question in my mind: what was Suzuma's point? Incest shouldn't be illegal? (Maya's loaded comments about being 'closeted' and Lochan's (view spoiler)[suicide (hide spoiler)] made me feel like I was supposed to be reeling with indignation. I feel very uncomfortable when I look back on the announcements of some of my GR friends and fellow readers who praise a great love story. All I could see (yes, even towards the over-tragic end) was two messed-up overwrought teenagers. In fact, if I could describe this book in one word, that would be it: overwrought. Unrealistic and irritating characters, mired in creepily voyeuristic (yes, the sex scene again) and overwritten melodrama. I initially gave this book three stars, because I'll be honest and say that Suzuma can write a climax (although not another kind of climax...which is another story...oh, the awkward moment where a GoodReader slips a bad dirty pun into her review), which left me with an inflated impression of it at the end. After reading my Goodread friend, Nomes', review (which I desperately want to link to but can't because I'm illiterate with technology) and letting the dust settle on this one a bit, I think I could easily give it one star. But I'll settle with two and credit Suzuma with her half-decent way of writing the "...and then everything falls apart" section of the novel. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more