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Bright Side Kindle Edition
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|Length: 429 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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The positives: The characters! Namely, Gus and Keller. You just flat out fall in love with them, and not just in the book boyfriend sense. You really like these guys. I, personally, didn't see a love triangle or a Gus vs. Keller problem though I think some did/do and there are Team Gus and Team Keller folks. I saw it for what it was and for who she was going to be with, and I love her choice. Though I had a lot of issues with tragedy as plot device (especially those that come out of nowhere and are given perhaps a paragraph of examination/explanation before moving on), I could not stop thinking about the characters. I wanted to know more about Gus and Keller. So, for development of those two, I would give it much higher marks.
The downside of Bright Side: Too much tragedy. All the bad things. Anything that someone could have happen to them that is uber sad happens. All the characters have massive tragic pasts. No one seems to have had a relatively normal, some ups and some downs with a really bad down thrown in, kind of past. And I don't feel like Bright Side really looked on or lived on the Bright Side. I felt like she lived in denial, AKA the land of rainbows and unicorns. And I'm not saying I wouldn't live there if I was her, going through what she went through (seriously, she goes through ALL THE SAD BAD THINGS). She is supposed to be this amazing soul who everyone falls in love with, and, to some extent, the author leads you there. But often times, the author just tells you, hey she's amazing, and you're just supposed to go with it rather than decide that for yourself based on character and plot development.
I want to be a Bright Sider. I do, I do. But I don't think I can truly get there.
I didn't like the author's writing style at all,. It wasn't nuanced or subtle. Everything was very "in your face," filled with so much showing instead of telling. As a reader, I don't like every little detail to be given to me, spelled out in nauseating detail. I want some room to use my brain and imagination, an opportunity I wasn't given while reading this book.
Each chapter is a new day in the life of Kate Sedgwick, which had I liked her (more on that later), maybe I would have been more marginally more engaged. This sort of narrative style made the story drag on and was rather boring. Nothing happened in the story for nearly 80% of the novel, until the alleged "big secret" is revealed. Though, I'd be shocked if readers were actually surprised by this, as it's all but spelled out in the beginning of the book.
Most chapters are a transcript of Kate's conversations with various people, namely her boyfriend Keller or her best friend Gus, which only acted to slow down the plot. The dialogue was awkward, stilted and unnatural. Kate's humor wasn't for me, and I didn't find her or anyone else's jokes funny in the slightest.
The story's central character is named Kate, who's known to her best friend Gus as "Bright Side" for being extremely optimistic. I know a lot of readers felt endeared to her immediately, but I never connected with her. To be quite honest, I found her personality to be grating and irritating.
Kate she never felt real to me. She was a good idea in theory, I suppose, but her whole character felt like a conceptualization instead of a living breathing thing. That's not to say that someone can't remain positive during trying times, but her reaction to everything, except for a small moment towards the end, was "sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns."
Nearly ever person who comes in contact with Kate loves her instantly. Sure, some people have that magnetic charm or an enveloping warmth you can't help but love immediately. But the way the author wrote her character (and the book) was extremely forced.
There was so much repetition in Kate's narrative, some of which were supposed to be bits of her personality. She says the word "dude" in nearly every sentence. She makes it widely known that she doesn't like "fancy coffee" and is a black coffee purist, judging all frou frou coffee drinkers.
This whole book felt setup solely to be an emotional tearjerker, instead of an organic journey. Like every single character (save one), the reader is supposed to love Kate instantly and become immediately protective over her. Kate's backstory is tragedy piled on top of tragedy, a history that practically begs readers to love her even more.
******* SPOILERS BELOW *********
You learn that she's been through the wringer, what with her mother committing suicide, her sister passing away unexpectedly, and her terminal cancer diagnosis all happening in a short amount of time.
The medical choice Kate makes before going to college is just another sign of the manipulation. We're supposed to believe that a 19 year old with her life ahead of her goes through one round of chemotherapy, finds that it's not working, and decides to let everything run its course. On top of that, she's so "selfless" that she keeps the secret to herself for months and doesn't tell her best friend (who's practically all she has in the world), her boyfriend, or any of her new friends at college, all of whom have come close to me. To me, this is the opposite of selfless.
Of course, her boyfriend also has a "tragic past" too. I get it. Bad things in life happens to all of us, but all of this put together in the manner by which it was amounted to heavy-handed, artificial drivel.
* I purchased this book myself.
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