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REVIEW: Wretched (This is My Sorry)
on October 11, 2009
Most of us have been there - saying goodbye to someone you care about deeply because you believe they deserve much more than you can ever give them. We've all been in that limbo of saying goodbye and not wanting to let go (or even knowing how to). Most of us find dealing with the inevitable change an emotionally daunting and difficult task. I know that I am most certainly one of those people.
Wretched starts out being thrown head first into the emotional turmoil of her relationship with long-time boyfriend, Shane. The main character, well - she has no name, at least not that I can remember (but I'll get to that). This main character suffers from type I diabetes, which has completely ravished her body, mind, and spirit. She has been given bad life filled with hospital trips, seizures, disease, and a mother who just didn't give squat about her. The only really good thing she had going on in her life, was the relationship she had between her boyfriend Shane, and herself.
I'm going to be honest. I genuinely could not put the book down. I started it at 8am this morning and finished it sometime early afternoon. I have never read about a character with diabetes and there was so much I learned from this novel that I wasn't even aware of. When I originally viewed diabetes, I didn't think it was riddled with so many life threatening complications (as much as what was portrayed in the novel) so in a sense, this novel was an intriguing eye opener for me. Now I fully understand the race for the cure. Wretched was thought-provoking, emotional, engaging, and you really just want to keep reading it - hoping and wishing that this main character would just get herself pulled together.
As enthralled as I was in this novel, it does feel a bit unfinished. I think had this book been edited by a formal editor, such things would have been noticed and fixed prior to publication. However, I do not think the issues are too late to resolve and fix. (Many novels do have 2nd editions and so forth).
* The Cover - Although I know it's a common knowledge not to "judge a book by it's cover" people still do and to be quite honest - presentation is everything (well.. almost). The cover made absolutely no sense to me. It wasn't attractive with it's pixilated images, underlined text, and/or lack of capitalization in the subtitle. The hibiscus on the cover serves no purpose or meaning to the story itself and if it's symbolic then I really do not get it. On the back is a picture of a needle used to inject herself. Personally, I think this would have made a more lasting impression had it been on the front of the cover. I think, if it were me - I would redesign the cover using a more readable font, the injection needle on the front, and images that are at the correct dpi for the size print. No hibiscus.
* Fonts & Formatting - The fonts and formatting are all over the place. On pg. 5, a title page - there are 5 different fonts used. It looked sloppy and unprofessional and takes away from the experience. I also would advise Katherine to cease bolding, underlining, and italicizing sentences in which she wants emphasized with emotion. Good literature does not need to point out emotion in such a way that says, "Hey- look at me! I am in bold so pay attention!" If it's truly written well, your readers will remember it as it is. Also there is an issue with formatting on pg. 111 that has the date running off and merging with the next column, making the table difficult to understand initially.
* Don't be afraid of back stories - There was so many questions left to be unanswered. The character has no name, at least not one that was used often and/or memorable. She needs a name. She needs a history in which the reader falls in love with her. Although her emotions were raw and real - it's hard to like a character that is all drama, pity, and woe - even though the feelings she displays are real. I found the character to be selfish and all drama - and maybe that was the point on some level. But, I think it would have been more powerful that as she is the main character that she be a likeable one, her faults and all. One way to take such a dramatic, depressed, and saddened character and make her likeable - is to give her a past. An identity. A reason to want to fight for her and with her.
* Realism in characters - For some reason, Drew did not feel real to me. Instantly I pegged him to be the type of guy you flirt with - the one who seems so absolutely into you (until he gets you into bed). At many times, he does seem like this type of character. But then he'll say or do something that seems unfitting and a bit cliche. It doesn't seem completely real to me that someone so selfish (main character) can attract so many men who thirst for her affections relentlessly with utter abandon and selflessness. If it were me, I would have portrayed Drew as an opposite of Shane, giving the main character what she feels like she is missing. Maybe he encourages her in some way to feel truly real and alive. Maybe he's the selfish pig that I would like to peg him for and only said all those sweet things to get into bed and that realizaiton is what haves her running back to Shane. Then, I think the love triangle and confusion she feels between two men would be more real to me. Drew being a rebound, teaching main character something important about herself, before she finally gets it.
Although Wretched had it's small issues, I only feel that it is a sense of editing - rather than the story itself. There is so much depth in this story just waiting there, waiting to emerge from the surface. With it's true to life arguments between lovers to its carefully planned research on the disease. Marple has the power to draw you into her story and I truly want to see this story become a success. I just think (and maybe I am completely wrong - who knows?) that the above (cover & formatting at the minimum) need to be refreshed to truly capture the story in its true worth.
I guess the bottom line is - Would I recommend this book to a friend? Well, considering I couldn't put it down, I would say yes. It's definitely an interesting read, for sure. There are many lessons to be learned while reading this novel, which makes it a novel capable of true impact.
Source: Wretched was an author-requested review. Receiving this book directly from the author in no way or form has altered my opinion on the book content and quality itself.