Jenny's Reviews > Slide

Slide by Jill Hathaway
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's review
Mar 21, 2012

really liked it

Rating: 3.5/5

Slide is a story that draws us in quickly, making us feel vulnerable on a level rarely experienced while reading and binding us to Vee as we tread precariously through the strangeness of her life. Not only do we have the vulnerability we typically feel as passive observers to fictional action–stuck outside the pages with absolutely no ability to direct or alter what’s unfolding before us–but with Vee’s story that usual vulnerability is compounded by her ability to slide into the minds of others without effecting change while she’s there. Thus, we find ourselves observers of someone who’s an even more intimate observer of others, leaving us helpless not just on a single default level but on a far deeper level as well, and making the reading experience a kind of fascinating exercise in facing our own impotence.

Vee is a young woman whose gift superficially seems like it might be something we’d like to experience, but the more time we spend with her, the more her ability takes on a darker, almost sinister edge, turning us all into unintentional voyeurs invading the privacy of others without their consent. Her sliding also leaves her body starkly exposed, her mind unable to protect its physical form while occupied in the mind of another, and we therefore feel an intense need to protect her despite our deep-seated knowledge that we are unable to do so. Still, Vee’s safety–emotionally and physically–becomes important to us, and we envy the strength she possesses to deal with such unusual circumstances and the horrors she is sometimes subjected to as a result.

Though Vee is a heroine it’s extremely easy to root for and we are rapidly swept away into a world where seeing is not just believing but also experiencing, the overall feeling we are left with upon finishing is one of slight disappointment. Ms. Hathaway has written a gorgeously dark story with characters who have problems and pasts that keep us riveted to the pages, however, we are denied deeper, richer access to them. Reading this story is a bit like being children in a candy store–we want nothing more than to touch and taste everything within reach of our greedy fingers, but the firm hand of our parents restrains us, their authoritative voices reminding us we are to look only while fully indulging in nothing. There’s an intriguing relationship with Rollins of which we only get a brief flash, just as there is a great deal of pain and loss in Vee’s own past that we get a little snippet of when everything comes together at the end, but those tiny tastes, however delightful, make us feel the absence of something weightier all the more keenly.

Overall, Slide is a very quick and entertaining read, one that is done just well enough that we can’t help but want to immerse ourselves a little more thoroughly in the world and its characters, thereby causing the inability to do so to affect us more than it might in another book. Ms. Hathaway is certainly an author going on my “authors to keep track of” list, and I look forward to whatever she releases next.
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