Michelle's Reviews > Bright Before Us

Bright Before Us by Katie Arnold-Ratliff
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Aug 28, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: powell-s-indiespensables
Read in August, 2011

Here is a great example of being able to really write. Not relying on a fantastic character that we all love, which you know, is fine to do. But I dislike it when people act like authors must constantly churn out super huggable characters. You don't necessarily need likeable characters if an author is fantastic! For example, our main character Francis is a complete JERK. He makes mistake after mistake. He actually maneuvers himself into these terrible situations and you want to scream, "No! Stop! Please, God, just stop!" (and maybe you actually do scream these things. Whatever. I was invested.) Like if you were a teacher taking your kids on a field trip and found a washed up corpse, what would you do? Take pills all weekend, roll up into school, and feel threatened by concerned parents, then maybe eventually **SPOILER** slam a kid's head into the art supplies? When you finally end up marrying the girl of your dreams do you **SPOILER** curse at the grave site of her recently deceased parents? OMG, just please stop, Francis. What you said is one of the worst things I've ever read.

You know what Francis's problem is, though? He is so immature. You read this and think of...well, not exactly similar things you've done, but yeah, some stupid decisions you made because you were in love but too young to take care of it. Or you had a lot of responsibility, and something hard happened, and instead of taking control, you just...fell apart.

I enjoyed Arnold-Ratliff's style, and for a first-time writer, she really came at us with a story that I thought was original and shocking. Literally, I gasped out loud several times (and I've already mentioned the yelling). Yay to Powell's for introducing us to another great new author.
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