Feb 23, 12
Read from February 20 to 23, 2012
I really wish Goodreads let you do half stars. 3.5 stars for this book from me.
This was a very original and intriguing topic to write about. Much like Emma Donoghue's, Room, this book is broken up into distinct parts: 1) inside the horror 2) outside the horror. However, this book also has a third part: 3) poorly written and cliche conflict resolution.
I had such high hopes for this novel and I LOVED part one, where Timber is introduced while living inside the cannibalistic cult. This part could have used SO much more development and expansion! It's a crime against writing that Lastrapes chose to barely skim the surface of something that could have been a novel in itself while in the same book providing an in-depth description of Disneyland. Where the heck are his priorities??? Part two was also interesting, as Timber escapes the cult and learns to live on the outside with the help of some eclectic and lovable secondary characters. Part three was just a mess, with the Three Stooges-like plot for murder and an oh-so-convenient final climax.
The overall writing style could have used quite a bit of polishing. I like the narrator that Lastrapes chose, however, I don't think he did a very good job allowing this narrator to shine without seeming too much like she was speaking in the voice of Lastrapes himself. The narration swung too broadly back and forth between offering insight that only the narrator would know and speaking in phrases that the narrator wouldn't believable use. It's pretty obvious in reading this that Lastrapes is trying really hard to be a "writer" rather than a believable storyteller. To, again, compare this to Donoghue's, Room, Donoghue succeeds beautifully in allowing her 5-year-old narrator to tell a very adult story in clear yet compelling terms, while by contrast Lastrapes' attempt at doing the same falls very short.
Mostly I enjoyed this book for its story line. The topic at hand is very interesting and all the blood and guts and sex didn't hurt either. Although some parts were very cheesy (one woman "helping" another take a bubble bath; yeah, we need help with that kind of thing, dontcha know, and then we have sexy pillow fights in our undies and practice kissing), overall this was a well rounded and thought out novel. It wasn't perfect, but I'd recommend this read to men and women alike as it can hold interest for many different kinds of readers.