Janet's Reviews > The Storm at the Door

The Storm at the Door by Stefan Merrill Block
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's review
Apr 23, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: drama, hated-it, first-reads
Read in April, 2011

I was delighted to receive an ARC from First Reads, and dove right in to "The Storm at the Door." However, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed.

Block had a compelling story to tell in his fictionalized account of the lives of his grandparents, their relationship, and the part mental illness, and sketchy treatment for it, had to play. I wanted to become engaged in this story and to embrace the characters, flaws and all, but I just couldn't reach them through all the words.

I'm not a walking dictionary, by any means, but I do believe I have a pretty extensive vocabulary. I didn't have to look anything up, or stop and figure out it's context, but the lengthy passages and ostentatious word choice still exhausted me. I felt that the story, especially the descriptions of life in the mental institution, would have been better served by a direct approach. Although, if the desired effect was to make the reader feel as muddled as the patient, it was achieved.

I hate to say I didn't like the book, both because I really do think it could be a great story that would resonate with many readers, and because I don't want to ruin my chances at winning another ARC through First Reads. I suppose I can't really say I didn't like it. If that were the case I wouldn't feel disappointed that it missed the mark a bit. Let's just say I was glad to reach the last page and take a well-needed rest.

Thanks to goodreads for pulling my name out of the hat, to the publisher for sending me the book, and to Stefan Merrill Block for being willing to delve into and share his family's struggles and teach us some new big words in the process.
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Eva (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eva Leger Hi, I just wanted to tell you that your review and rating have nothing to do with you winning again. I worried about this also so I did some digging way back when.
The schedule is set to an algorithm and as long as the winner rates and reviews (50+ words) they'll win again.
Hope that makes you feel better! :-)

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