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A "Thriller" That Forgot About "The Thrill"
on September 25, 2011
Have you every read a slew of reviews and thought "what book were these readers reading"?
That's the question I have after seeing any review that claims this book is thrilling. Or even entertaining. My gut feeling is this book has been guerrilla marketed. Watson is not a bad writer; indeed I agree with the reviewer that said he does a fine job of capturing the experience of a character rewriting her history each day through keeping a journal (stop for a second, however, and ask yourself if this is a good thing).
The premise is an interesting one, if not a bit overdone these days (in fact, see "Memento", the movie, a much more intriguing thriller that examines a protagonist with a terrifying memory affliction). In this particular take on the subject, a woman with memory problems--a wife who cannot retain the previous day's memories (or any long term memory at all) upon waking each morning--struggles to figure out who she is, what exactly happened to her, and perhaps most importantly, who she can trust.
Fair enough. There is some interesting potential here.
But then that plot line replays for three-quarters of the book! I literally found myself at 80% on my Kindle before I felt like the plot might be finally moving somewhere toward a revelation that was looming for several hundred pages. The first few times Watson's protagonist wakes up and has to reread her journal to remember who she is and what happened, it's mildly interesting. (NOTE: nothing has actually happened to her in these captured pages, other than remembering who she is, who her husband is, and who her doctor is). After this daily replay for a few hundred pages, it's time for the hangman's noose.
After all that monotony, however, I thought "based on all the reviews, something really exciting (read: THRILLING) must happen soon". I mean, the last 20% should knock our socks off, right? Nah. Anyone who couldn't figure out the "twist" by then needs to put away the sedatives.
I wanted to love this book. Seeing Dennis Lehane's (much promoted) single line of praise "Exceptional...it left my nerves jangling for hours after I read the last page." really whetted my appetite.
Really, Dennis? I am a big Lehane fan; as I said, his endorsement was already enough for me. But there is NOTHING in this novel to make your nerves jangle (unless it is the futile frustration that you will never get those hours back again).
For the reviewers (particularly the Top Reviewers who loved the book, I apologize. I am sorry you require so little from a storyline. Save your money, dear readers; here's 200+ pages of the plot:
Write new things in the journal, question your husband's honesty, question what really happened to you, talk these things over with your doctor. Rinse. Repeat.
Then, with less than 20% to go, prepare to discover what you should have pretty much known all along. Not frightening, not harrowing, not all that surprising. And certainly not thrilling.
Certainly nothing over which to jangle any nerves.