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This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel. See more
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Top customer reviews
The book is a work of fiction which, at times reads rather like memoirs. The uneasy fusion of the two styles, I believe, helps in this instance to underline the subject matter and the importance of addressing these issues in our society. The style at once draws us into these people's lives and stories, and yet gives us a certain distance - enough at least to be analytical as we read. That is not to say the book doesn't engage the reader emotionally - far from it - but it does not allow complacency or the 'it's just a story' reaction that would have disempowered the message of the story.
The book is well written, the language choices made are appropriate, and way the story flows through the different parts of the book and the different chapters makes for an compelling and engaging read.
Let's start with what I liked. I liked that it was very clearly delineated what kind of behaviors were wrong. Also, blame was never placed on the victims. Even in the third section about Tiffany, the older man Alan clearly took responsibility for his actions. The rape victim sought help from her clergy and a mental health professional. Alan sought help also. Both these people were able to take positive steps forward, and I like the message this sends. It is important to seek help for all aspects of your life.
Now for what I didn't like. I felt the pacing was uneven. At times it seemed like the plot ran forward like an Olympic sprinter, and then there were times where it seemed to meander along with no direction. The dialogue felt equally unequal. There were parts that seemed very realistic, and then large sections of dialogue with no contractions at all. This made it seem very formal and stiff. This also lead to a clinical feel to some of the story. I often felt no emotional attachment to the characters, although considering what they all went through this might have been a good thing. At times I felt like I was reading a text book, because it all felt so formal.
There were no euphemisms used when describing things, just the correct anatomical terms. I like this approach, because I think it's important to not try and lighten the impact of actions with cutesy terms. However, when reading it, it does seem very graphic. The language is also strong but realistic. This is not a book for young people though. There were a couple plots points I found strange or unrealistic. I realize the girl in the third section was meant to be unusually mature for her age, but she seemed a bit too precocious to me. Also, one character had a bizarre obsession with dating girls who are virgins. This weirded me out a lot. The plot line with the rapist wasn't really wrapped up as well as I would like. I also found the ending to be a bit creepy.
Overall, I feel that there are some good messages in this book. It is worth a read, but don't expect a fully polished, emotional book. It can be very harsh and cold, which is sometimes fitting to the subject matter. In the end though, it left me feeling rather flat.
Copy of this book won on a book website.
The biggest problem I had with this book was that there were too many characters and too much going on. There wasn't enough time spent on the characters for me to really feel a connection with them. I also think Gene Gillian, one of the sexual predators, was one of the best characters, and was under-utilized. I would have liked to see more of what happened to him once he was found out in Hawaii.
The book skips around a lot from different characters. Some, I wasn't sure what their true connection was to the story (the man from Halloween who always dressed differently each year... for instance). Because there were so many characters, the extraneous ones made it more difficult to follow the story.
In the end, I think the ideas were there, but that it wasn't really completely fleshed out. A lot of the characters seemed to come together in the end, but still, there was a bit of confusion about who was who and how they connected to the overall story.