Catie's Reviews > Come See About Me

Come See About Me by C.K. Kelly Martin
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Aug 31, 12

bookshelves: read-in-2012, ya
Read from August 01 to 02, 2012

3 1/2 stars

Unconventional review time!

Over at the blog today, I posted a double review of this book along with C.K. Kelly Martin's Yesterday. If you're starting here - great! Follow the links to read my whole crazy train of thought!

Many of my friends have urged me to try out C.K. Kelly Martin over the past year, and it just so happened that I ended up reading two of her books in succession this summer – two very different books, as it turns out. I liked one of them a good deal and the other one…not so much. So today, I thought I’d pull out the old Sandwich Method ™ and review them both in one post.

So. Firstly, for the delicious bread part of the sandwich (I’m thinking it’s Great Harvest white cheddar and garlic): Come See About Me really stands out amongst its YA brethren. Which may or may not be because it’s actually an adult novel. Yeah, okay…maybe it’s not quite appropriate for the younger side of YA, but I would easily recommend this to anyone 16 and older. The protagonist is in her early twenties and is experiencing debilitating grief for the first time. She’s a young person trying to learn how to cope with loss, school, parents, and relationships. It reads like a YA. It walks like a YA. It quacks like a YA. The only way that it doesn’t quite fit the YA mold (particularly in America) is that it contains a few sex scenes.

Let’s talk about the sex scenes because they were – seriously – my favorite part of the book. (Cue the studio audience track going Oooooooooh.) No, no, not in that way. (Okay, a little bit in that way.) The sex scenes in this book are some of the most honest and healthy portrayals of sex I’ve ever read. The sex here is messy and awkward. It’s fun. It’s a stress-reliever. It’s casual, but not callous. And the lovers somehow manage to do it without being perfect the one forever and ever for the rest of eternity soul mates. All of which is depressingly unheard of in our stories about young people. I love the relationship between Leah and Liam – two very flawed characters who don’t have a perfect relationship but still find some small measure of solace with each other.

I also really love the way that C.K. Kelly Martin writes. Her prose is very straightforward and stripped down in a way that reminds me of Sara Zarr. It’s the kind of writing that tends to gut me about 90% more efficiently than flowery prose ever will. However (and here’s where we start to bleed into the filling part of the sandwich – I’m thinking it starts off with mayonnaise, blergh) that just never happened for me. I never connected emotionally with this book. I think this just might be one of those times when a book and I simply don’t fit. I couldn’t relate to Leah and her complete, debilitating breakdown. No part of this story resonated with me. My own grief stayed silent and cushioned and safe in all the corners where I like to stash it away. Maybe that’s because I am not really a breakdown kind of person. I am more of a recovering shove-it-all-down-and-soldier-on type of person. Where the matter of fact voice of Holly from Holier Than Thou nearly ripped me in half, Leah’s story did almost nothing for me (more on this later).

And now we come to the part of this review where I’ve (hopefully) wedged my negative thoughts between two slices of deliciousness. Follow this link to my review of Yesterday!

Back Now? Okay, enough about that. Let’s get back to the bread.

Come See About Me is one of the best self-published books I’ve ever read. Admittedly, I haven’t read very many but I’m pretty surprised that this book wasn’t picked up by someone. My friend Kelly from Stacked also compared Holier Than Thou to Come See About Me, saying (about Holier Than Thou):

“This would be a neat book to pair with CK Kelly Martin's COME SEE ABOUT ME since they tackle grief and figuring out what lies ahead for those who are young but not teenagers. I didn't think Buzo's book was as strong, but it was still enjoyable.”

I completely agree (well, except that I preferred Buzo's book). I have this theory that those of us who related strongly to Holier Than Thou won’t connect with Come See About Me and vice-versa. I’m mailing my copy of this book to Tatiana to see if my theory holds water. I have three data points so far - if you've read both of those books I'd love to have more!

As for my future with C.K. Kelly Martin, I will definitely be checking out more. I can't recommend Yesterday, but Come See About Me is worth reading. I love her writing style, and I'm convinced that one of her books will work for me.

This review (in its entirety) was also seen at The Readventurer.
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Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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Reynje Ooh, are you going to review this Catie? I have this to read soon..


Catie Yeah, I think I will. I have SO MANY to review...I've been really slacking off. Just got back from vacation! And now I need about three days to recover. :)

I have a theory about this one and Holier Than Thou. I will be watching your reading progress of this one to see if it pans out. ;)


Reynje Catie wrote: "Yeah, I think I will. I have SO MANY to review...I've been really slacking off. Just got back from vacation! And now I need about three days to recover. :)

I have a theory about this one and Ho..."


Interesting.. I should be reading it soon, so we shall see :)

I know the feeling.. I've been incredibly lazy about reviewing lately. Hope you had a lovely vacation!


Kelly Reynje wrote: "Catie wrote: "Yeah, I think I will. I have SO MANY to review...I've been really slacking off. Just got back from vacation! And now I need about three days to recover. :)

I have a theory about t..."


Catie, I can't wait to see you expand on the theory of this one and Holier Than Thou :)


Reynje I'm going to predict that this theory includes something about endings/resolutions..?


Catie The pressure! Hahaha. I shouldn't have mentioned THE THEORY like it was a huge thing. Now you guys are going to be disappointed by how simplistic it is. ;)

I basically just wonder if fans of HTT will feel less of a connection to this one, and vice versa. And if I'm going to stretch it out into wild conjecture territory, I wonder if the HTT crowd and the CSAM crowd actually tend to grieve differently. The HTT crowd tends to compartmentalize and soldier on (heading for a massive break down later) and the CSAM crowd tends to (smartly) fall apart in the moment and earn their sanity back one piece at a time.


Catie Also, @ Reynje - I actually really loved the ending of CSAM! Waaaaaay more positive than HTT but still pretty open. Maybe I just like to feel devastated by endings. It's probably all those feelings I've compartmentalized wanting to get out, LOL.


Kelly Catie wrote: "The pressure! Hahaha. I shouldn't have mentioned THE THEORY like it was a huge thing. Now you guys are going to be disappointed by how simplistic it is. ;)

I basically just wonder if fans of ..."


Catie, that notion of grieving was what I was thinking about when I finished HTT and thought about the similarities to CSaM. Because the compartmentalizing/soldiering on vs. the notion of falling apart involuntarily/earning sanity back piece by piece is spot on. I thought, too, that Leah and Holly were such different people too: Leah, at least for me, was easier to relate to and easier to crack because she did have those moments, whereas Holly was so hard for me to connect with and understand because she was so closed off.


Catie Yeah! And that was the main thing that lowered my rating for this book - I just could never connect to Leah. It's probably because I was at one time a very closed off person but reading about Holly was so very much like reading about myself. I'm really interested to see if this trend continues with other readers! I'm definitely sending this one to Tatiana, whether she wants it or not! ;)


Sarah I haven't read HTT (I plan to eventually) but I found Leah to be very relatable in a lot of ways. Your theory actually makes me want to read HTT more just for comparison.


Kelly Sarah wrote: "I haven't read HTT (I plan to eventually) but I found Leah to be very relatable in a lot of ways. Your theory actually makes me want to read HTT more just for comparison."

If Catie's theory is to be believed (and I think she's on to something), then Sarah I suspect you'll feel the way I did about it. Put me in the CSaM camp over the HTT camp.


Catie I bet you'll be in the CSAM camp too, Sarah! If there is such a thing. I'm thinking Reynje might be a hybrid but we'll see!


Reynje This is very interesting, and I suspect you're onto something Catie :) (I kind of like this hybrid idea btw, it makes me feel special!)

I was completely devastated (in a good way, if that makese sense) by HTT, and while initially I wouldn't have said I'm anything like Holly, the more I think about it, the more I realise that perhaps I am.

I'll admit to feeling a little taken aback when people find Holly negative and closed off. I mean, she is those things, to an extent. But that wasn't the main thing I got from her character. And I'm about to go off on a long, personal tangent here, so maybe I'll save that for an email at the risk of hijacking this thread :)

I'm about 20% through CSAM so far, but I'll check back in later. (You know, for SCIENCE!)


message 14: by Catie (last edited Aug 05, 2012 05:43PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Catie Haha, yes please do check back in! Or, give us plenty of status updates (= data points!). There's so much to admire in this book - the more I think about it, the more I like it quite a lot objectively. It just never hit my emotions at all. I felt nothing for the entire book. I feel like I failed this book. Which is why I'm hoping that Tatiana can give it a better home.

Feel free to send me a tangential and long personal email because you know how I love those. ;)


Reynje Okay, expect ALL THE THOUGHTS in your inbox sometime soon :)


message 16: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie Parent Great review...I remember reading a blog post by the author about why the book wasn't picked up by a publisher. It's because publishers feel uncertain about marketing books with MCs in their early twenties--not quite YA, not quite adult.


message 17: by Maggie (new) - added it

Maggie I loooooved Holier Than Thou so I'm iffy about this book. However, you definitely made me want a sandwich. What is this magic cheddar bread?!


Catie It's magical and it looks like this:



and it makes the most delicious grilled cheese sandwiches in the entire universe. Apparently the closest Great Harvest to you is in the Seattle area (and they don't ship). Maybe Flann can hook you up.


message 19: by Maggie (new) - added it

Maggie


Catie Hahaha, that gif is priceless.


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