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Finding Jolie Paperback – April 10, 2012
About the Author
Jamie Goldenberg is a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida. Her research examines existential questions related to life, death, the body, and women’s bodies in particular. She explores these same themes in her artwork (JamieLynnGoldenberg.com) and fictional writing. Finding Jolie is Jamie Goldenberg’s debut novel.
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We also get to see life from the perspective of Daniel Keltz. He's Jolie's math teacher. He's a pretty straightforward guy who leads a simple life. Something in Jolie stirs him, and when she goes missing, he goes off in search of her. Along the way he learns some secrets about his own life, and starts to come out of his shell.
When I first read the synopsis of this book, my initial thought was that it was going to be a story about Jolie running off, and Mr. Keltz going to find her and them ultimately ending up together in some sort of forbidden relationship. I'm happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the twists and turns of this novel. While at times there are slight hints of a sexual attraction or possibility of something between Jolie and Mr Keltz it's actually more of a kindred soul type of relationship. Jolie has a unique perspective on death, which is all the more relevant after she finds out the truth about her family. It's Jolie's view that moves Mr. Keltz out of the rut he's in and onto his journey of self discovery, and to the revealing of a few family secrets of his own.
Strengths of this Book:
It has good flow:
Some of the subject matter in this book, especially the more sensitive material, like the sexual scenes, are done very tastefully. They also flow together really smoothly. Some sex scenes can end up very choppy or forced, and these are not.The descriptions: There are very good descriptions which help project the feelings of the characters out to the reader. For example, Jolie has a very tough time sleeping and her constant battle with sleep is very well illustrated in some of her scenes.
"No matter how tired she was, Jolie just could not cross the line from waking to sleep without a struggle. Sleep was often right there, just fingertips beyond her tired grasp, her with its promise of escape. Why couldn't she just cross that invisible line into nighttime oblivion as others did? She'd usually start by trying to creep quietly into sleep without triggering any resistance. When this didn't work, she'd become more forceful and try to bully her way across. But often she'd get stuck in that place in the middle, with sleep and her usual way of seeing things just mocking her." (Jamie Lynn Goldenberg. Finding Jolie (Kindle Locations 137-140).
Jolie is constantly battling sleep. She's afraid of sleep, because she's afraid of death. Reading this, I could feel just how Jolie felt. I related very strongly to this aspect of Jolie's character because I have the same struggle with sleep. I am often afraid to fall asleep and so I fight it and fight it without even meaning to.Another imagery comparison I liked is when Jolie said she wanted to take a mental image of the Golden Gate Bridge for her mind's screensaver. A screensaver for your mind just seems like a good idea. It would be a constant positive image to return to when things get tough.
Spelling and Word Errors:
I'm a stickler for this kind of thing. Normally one or two words wouldn't bother me, but I kept finding the errors throughout the book and it pulled me out of the story a little. A lot of it was the same word over and over again. One of the mistakes though was a word in the middle of a page that just made no sense whatsoever. I even tried to figure out what the author could have possibly been trying to say, but I had no idea.
When Jolie runs away she comes up with an alias for herself by the name of Janie. Then there's a character in the restaurant where Jolie (Janie) works named Joanie. These are all too close together to be believable. (I found myself audibly groaning about these names as they came up. Then when Charley's mom is explaining about her father she just calls him so and so, rather than giving him a name. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that the names could have been slightly more creative.
Believability of some plot points:
Most of this was real and straightforward. But there were one or two points where I found myself thinking, "Yeah right." One of these is when Jolie gets off the bus in Colorado and goes looking for jobs. She goes into one restaurant where that owner isn't hiring, but the guy calls a friend who owns a restaurant and he gives her the job over the phone. It's just not believable. Overall:Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Aside from the points mentioned above, the story is really well done. I found myself identifying with almost all of the characters. I would have liked to see more about Liam, and the backstory of Jolie's family's thoughts when she came up missing. I know that's not what the focus of the story was, but the fact that I wondered about it is a sign that this novel pulled me in. Also, I don't want to give any secrets away, but Jolie's fear of death is rather ironic, which I appreciated as a reader.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Wow...this story was so much more than I expected, the summary doesn't do this story justice, so much happened, so many things unveiled, I could hardly believe the intensity of this book. The content was deeper and surprising than I expected. This definitely is a book that will open your eyes up to a world where drugs take control and people's hidden identities come to the surface.
The plot hit the major key points of a plot line but the ending lacked a great deal. Not that I was upset of the outcome it was because I felt there was so much left unfinished, like some of the characters we had grown to like and love were left hanging; their stories left in the abyss of virtual space. There were some questions left unanswered; some ties left without a bow and after all that I had read through, all the hardships, joy, pain and love in the end I felt left down. But in all, the story was well paced and I found the action well-paced, there was plenty of slower moments where it allowed the characters to reveal things about themselves and to also allow previous scenes to sink in. So in all though I felt the resolution lacked some important things the overall feel of the plot was good; especially the sub-plots; they were well played out.
What to say about the characters? There were some well thought-out characters, I felt the author really took time to fill in the little details of the characters and allow us as the reader to get more aquatinted with them. They each were distinct and were essential to the overall story, each one added a different flavor to the story.
Transformation of the character:
There were some amazing transformations in this book and there were also some characters who yearned to break out of their mold but just couldn't. I especially enjoyed Jolie's transformation; I felt that it was realistic and true. The author took time for the character to explore her world, to make and learn from her mistakes. It was just so wonderful and amazing and the way she worded the transformations were poetic and smooth. I especially enjoyed that even some of the minor characters made short transformations in themselves. But as I mentioned earlier there were some of the characters in the sub-stories that tried to changed; they tried to break free but something in their world was holding them back, I loved that the author chose to keep that element; it gave the atmosphere a more realistic and true air about it.
I found that the detail in this story was well thought out and placed strategically. There wasn't too little or too much, the author chose the moments to explain further inside the scenes when necessary. I felt that the attention to detail; the way she explored inside the mind of the characters was beautiful; each mind; each scene was explained well and efficiently.
I felt that this author went with a more poetic feel, the words and phrases the author chose had that vibe about them. They were put in order that helped both the reader and the characters themselves understand this complex and dark world. This was definitely written very nicely and I didn't have a problem getting through it, it was just a nice and even read.
Quote of the book:
"She had been a fool. It was sad. It was stupid. It was damn tragic."
Jolie Feinstein is a 16 year-old girl from a "good" family in an affluent New Jersey suburb. She's popular, smart, attractive, and not unhappy, but the awareness of her mortality haunts her. Jolie seeks refuge in drugs and sex for a while, but a series of events and a revelation about an early childhood accident resulting in the death of her little sister pushes her to her breaking point. She runs away - but not before making a late-night call to her high-school math teacher, Mr. Keltz.
Daniel Keltz is a 32 year-old algebra teacher who, after Jolie's call, begins to question his own solitary and unsatisfying life. When he learns of Jolie's whereabouts, Daniel does the only crazy thing he's ever done in his life, and takes off to find her.
The story follows Jolie to Colorado Springs and then to San Francisco, where she finds temporary solaces and unlikely friendships interspersed with more trouble, obsession, and death; and it follows Daniel's journey to find Jolie and himself along the way.
I would recommend this to people who don't mind reading realistic and tragic stories, there's a lot of adult content in this book that isn't suited for a younger audience. I would recommend this to readers who are looking for books about young teens and the world of drugs and emotional pain. This book was filled with so many events and ideas that I myself found some new information stored in my mind. There's just so much out there that it's impossible to ever keep track of it all. I enjoyed this book in the end I just wish the ending could have been expanded but I'd be more than willing to read more books by this author.