Amanda Kimball's Reviews > The Girl Who Would Speak for the Dead

The Girl Who Would Speak for the Dead by Paul Elwork
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's review
Nov 09, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read from October 21 to November 09, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I give this novel 3 1/2 stars. I was lucky enough to go to a book talk that showcased Paul at Arcadia University (where we both attended school). It was wonderful to hear Paul read excerpts from the novel, and talk about his struggles/inspiration for the novel.

I read the book on and off for about three weeks. I was intrigued by Emily and Michaels story, and found it very interesting how trusting and open the adults were in their community. Even after the truth came out, many of their followers believed that they had the "talent" and we're just trying to live a "normal" life.

I truly had hoped that Emily did have a gift, and a few scenes in the novel had me believing that Emily did have some sort of sight. I am not sure if the author did this intentionally, or if her intuition was a culmination of her subconscious after performing. I'd like to believe that in a way she could communicate with the dead, just not as clearly as she pretended.

I was aggravated while reading with their mother Naomi and her place in the story. She was not a very nurturing or present mother; she seemed as though she was placed to give us a bridge to the twins ancestry, but not as a motherly type. I have to wonder how she wasn't even the least bit interested in the comings and goings of her own children or the sudden influx of guests (so secretly) to see her twins. I felt as if her love story with Stan was wasted because it never led to them actually being together after finding one another again. I was very disappointed in this and the fact that Emily sifted through their background (and her extended families) but never did anything with the information.

Another thing I felt was not developed enough was our travels to the past. We read about the twins' grandfather Robert, but we seem to be left in the cold. We see about two excerpts that being us into his life and his wife's, and then we abruptly leave and never return to finish out anything that had been established. I was very disappointed with this because it would have made Emilys discoveries more enticing.

Overall, i enjoyed reading this book and thinking about the concept of spirit knocking. I felt that the children's ages and time period were perfect setups to the theme and direction the author started to take. But I just felt that many of the side story lines could have used a little more development to give a more cohesive story. Readers are led to believe they are diving into a ghost story, and we are half led through a family history/ should have been romance.

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11/06/2011 page 116
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