Nancy O'Toole's Reviews > Textual Healing

Textual Healing by Eric  Smith
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Jan 04, 11

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bookshelves: contemporary-fiction, humor
Read from December 29, 2010 to January 02, 2011

Andrew Connor's life has been better. Once a celebrated writer, he now finds his one book located on the discount shelves at his local Barns and Noble. He spends his time running a struggling used bookstore located across the street from a flower-shop-owning ninja. When his girlfriend breaks up with him, it seems like the last straw. Then he meets Hannah, a friendly woman from the Midwest who changes his life in just a week.

Apparently, I was very lucky the last half of December, because I won not one, but TWO books in online giveaways. One of these books was Textual Healing by Eric Smith (thanks to Goodread's first reads), a quirky romantic comedy. I love how Smith plays with rom-com stereotypes, putting his own spin on the genre. I found Andrew, despite his hapless nature, to be a likeable lead. I enjoyed the colorful cast of side characters, especially the ninja from across the street, and the two college students that work at Andrew's bookstore. I thought the romantic element worked well, despite the fact that it was a little cliché (free spirited young woman helps revitalize male protagonist's ho-hum life? I think I've read this one before). Where the novel succeeds the most is when it comes to comedy. I found myself cracking up several times while reading it.

Admittedly, there are some areas were Textual Healing does come up a little short. The first one is kind of surprising. There are quite a few grammatical and punctuation related errors in this little book. Smith really seems to struggle with tense (I can relate). While reading, I noticed the book would switch back and forth between past and present tense constantly, often in the same paragraph. At first, I found this really distracting. It's not something you'd expect to find in a printed work. As I got more into the story, I began to notice these errors less frequently. I also found that at times, the writing felt a little awkward or cheesy, taking me out of my enjoyment of the book. This isn't something unheard of for debut novels, so I'm going to give Smith a break here. Also, as mentioned before, the novel sometimes felt a little cliché.

Textual Healing was a very fun read. Smith's first novel shows that he has a good hand for crafting likable characters, great comedy, and a pleasant romance. I suspect that as he grows as a writer, many of the issues I had with this book will be resolved. I'm happy that I read Textual Healing, despite the fact that it's a little out of my comfort zone.
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Reading Progress

12/29/2010 page 132
47.0% "Funny book. Only thing holding it back is the grammatical errors."
01/01/2011 page 280
100.0% "Just finished this one. Review coming soon!"

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