Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How can you love a book when you can't stand the characters? My review of "Flinder's Field" by D. M. Mitchell

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I read this book on my Kindle because I love psychological thrillers, and this had gotten a lot of five-star reviews.

Here's part of Amazon's summary:

In November 1974, a young woman called Sylvia Tredwin goes missing. Nobody has the faintest idea where she’s gone. She was wearing only a light skirt and T-shirt, didn’t take anything with her, no suitcase, nothing. Simply went out one dark evening and never returned. 

Some say she went off with another man, because there’d already been talk in the small Somerset village of Petheram that she’s that type of woman – attractive, flirty with it, dressed too provocatively. But her husband, Bruce Tredwin, doesn’t believe a word of the callous whisperings of the locals as they gossip about his outsider wife. So he never gives up searching for her. A fortnight later on a stormy winter’s night he finds her. She’s naked in a place called Flinder’s Field, wandering aimlessly, badly bruised and in total shock. But what she says to him will astound everyone. 

She says she’s been abducted by aliens, and she was never to be the same again, with tragic consequences…

While not badly written, I had two glaring problems with this book:

1) It took SO long to get going.  It was well into the book before anything really started happening.

2) And this one is a biggie:  I COULDN'T STAND THE CHARACTERS, especially the main character, George Lee!

George returns to Petheram, the village of his birth, and decides to try to find out exactly what happened to Sylvia Tredwin.

George was quite frankly a jerk, with no endearing qualities or anything that drew me to him.  Quite honestly, I didn't care if he lived or died.

None of the other characters were much better.

I stuck it out only because other readers had raved about the huge twist at the end, but even the twist failed to wow me.

The author has been touted as England's answer to Dean Koonce and Stephen King, but judging by this book, I'm not seeing it.

1 comment:

John Michael Cummings said...

Dear Cindy,

Will you please consider reviewing my new novel DON’T FORGET ME, BRO, to be published later this year by Stephen F. Austin State University Press (Texas Book Consortium)?

DON’T FORGET ME, BRO deals with themes of childhood abuse, mental illness, and alienated families. (See synopsis below.)

My award-winning debut novel THE NIGHT I FREED JOHN BROWN (Philomel Books, Penguin Group, 2009) won The Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers (Grades 7-12) and was one of ten books recommended by USA TODAY. For more info: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/john-michael-cummings/the-night-i-freed-john-brown/

In addition I've published a collection of short stories, UGLY TO START WITH (West Virginia University Press) Here’s a link to some information about my collection: http://www.amazon.com/Ugly-Start-With-Michael-Cummings/dp/193597808X

My short stories have appeared in more than seventy-five literary journals, including The Iowa Review, North American Review, The Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Chattahoochee Review. Twice I have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. My short story "The Scratchboard Project" received an honorable mention in The Best American Short Stories 2007.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

My email is johnmcummings@aol.com

Thank you very much.


John Michael Cummings

P.S. Could you kindly give me a reply back to let me know you received this email?

Synopsis of DON’T FORGET ME, BRO

DON’T FORGET ME, BRO deals with themes of childhood abuse, mental illness, and alienated families. The book opens with the main character, forty-two-year-old Mark Barr, who has returned home from New York to West Virginia after eleven years for his older brother Steve’s funeral. Steve, having died of a heart attack at forty-five, was mentally ill most of his adult life, though Mark has always questioned what was "mentally ill" and what was the result of their father’s verbal and physical abuse during their childhood.

The book unfolds into an odyssey for Mark to discover love for his brother posthumously in a loveless family.

DON’T FORGET ME, BRO is a portrait of an oldest brother’s supposed mental illness and unfulfilled life, as well as a redeeming tale of a youngest brother’s alienation from his family and his guilt for abandoning them.

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