Lea's Reviews > Stranger Will

Stranger Will by Caleb J. Ross
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's review
May 03, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: acquired-2011, read-2011, reviews
Read from May 23 to 26, 2011 — I own a copy

I keep procrastinating on writing a review for this book, mainly because I just don't know what to say about it. I'm not even sure how I feel about it!

Let's get the boring, nitpicky stuff out of the way -- as usual. Typos, which seemed to get worse as the book went along. Everything from misspellings to what seem to be misused words. Why?? I expect this in a goodreads win -- because they're most likely sending out proofs rather than finished editions -- but this wasn't a win, I bought this on Amazon, so I expect the quality to compare to any other book I'd pick up in a store. This kind of sloppiness just doesn't make me a fan.

Now that's out of the way . . .

This is a very interesting story. William and Julie are expecting their first child -- a child William is determined not to have. He works with heavy duty chemicals as a "human remains removal specialist", and fears the damage the chemicals may have already done to the unborn baby. In his endeavor to be rid of the child, he is helped by the mysterious Mrs. Rose.

This idea was so compelling to me that I had Amazon overnight a copy when I couldn't find it locally -- something I almost never do. I'm just too cheap to pay for that kind of postage, but I just had to read it as soon as possible.

Was it worth it?

I don't know. I found the characters and their lives grotesque and unlikable. Even Julie, who -- as a mom -- I felt I should have been most sympathetic to. They're all so mired in these ridiculously pointless lives, it's difficult to empathize with them. On the other hand, has any parent escaped having an instant (or more) of doubt and fear when faced with the reality of having children? It's such a huge responsibility, one I know I felt vastly unprepared for. So it wasn't like I couldn't understand William's reluctance to accept this new role.

I also found William's solution to his "problem" truly horrific -- even thinking about it now makes me feel upset, even nauseated.

I think I was looking for a different story, one in which William and Julie have their doubts -- about parenthood and about each other -- but work their way through the problems to reach a new point in their lives. This is NOT that story.

I didn't really understand what Mrs. Rose was striving to attain, or why so many people were willing to help her. I didn't understand William's passivity throughout the story. In the end, I did sympathize just a bit with Julie, but not enough that I ended up liking her.

Having said all that, though, I can't give this book only 1 star. I didn't like it, but that doesn't make it a bad book -- I think my reaction to it is indicative of how it challenged my values and my beliefs. The ideas presented would probably rate 4 stars -- they really are that intriguing.

So I guess I'll split the difference and give it 3 stars, subject to change as I ponder this book in the coming weeks.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul Lea, don't know if you've seen my blog (http://pwoodford.net/blog/), but I've written a couple of rants there about crappy & non-existent e-book editing. It's not just oddball books, but even some mass market best-sellers -- full of typos, pagination errors, and odd alpha-numeric characters. It's the kind of stuff that happens when you optically scan text and convert it into a PDF or Word doc, and you need a proofreader to give it a going-over after the conversion ... but I guess publishers don't want to spend another nickel on stuff like that. Whenever I get a poorly-edited book, I ask Barnes & Noble for my money back. Hasn't done any good so far, but if a lot of people start doing it, who knows?

message 2: by Lea (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lea I haven't checked out your blog yet, but I definitely will!

I don't read ebooks, so I haven't had a chance to see how they handle the editing, but I've read a couple of "traditional" books lately that have been really bad -- one was an advance copy, so I'm pretty sure the errors would be corrected before being published (I hope so, anyway), but this one was just . . . sloppy. Sadly.

I think I would be over the top irate if I read mainly ebooks and found poor editing to be a problem -- it's ridiculous not to get a top quality product when you are paying for it.

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