- File Size: 681 KB
- Print Length: 213 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Merge Publishing (November 12, 2015)
- Publication Date: November 12, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B016GYR98E
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,280,528 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Slip Away: A coming of age literary novel. Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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The tale is told in the first person, telling the account of a boy, Rory, going through his teenaged years in the Adirondacks. At the moment the book begins, he is murdering his brother, sending his brother off to sleep with the fishes.
The rest of the book tells the tragic, horrifying and gripping story of how an otherwise unremarkable and non-violent boy came to this act.
Two things stand out about Durham's writing. First, the descriptions of the Adirondacks and other things are incredibly evocative. The reader can smell the chilled mountain air of "The Park," hear the voices of the characters talking, see Rory's adopted family's home. Second, the character of Rory himself is engaging; his emotions are powerful without ever descending anywhere near melodrama, and his experiences feel genuine. The choice of first person voice was wonderful for this; when he comes to the wrong conclusions, the reader is right there making the same wrong conclusions with him, because the reader has only seen what Rory had seen.
Durham does a great job of focusing on the outcome of events, rather than the events themselves; like real life, the bad events are brief and over quickly, but the effects linger long after the fact. At the same time, Durham doesn't bore the reader when nothing is happening; as a result, the book is a page-turner, particularly in the latter third of the novel, as Rory's one chance at a normal life vanishes and his path becomes set in the direction of the scene which opened the novel.
The novel itself is in need of some copyediting; in the Kindle version I read (through the Android Kindle reader), paragraphs would occasionally have extra spaces between them, and there were a handful of minor grammatical mistakes and typographical errors. The center of the book approaches cliche as Rory gets his first taste of a "normal" childhood; it's the only part of his life story that doesn't feel quite as real as the rest. Also, on rare occasions in the first third of the novel, the first-person voice doesn't work quite so well, with Rory's comments on events not always feeling like the first that would come after a given description; the first third is engaging, but a bit bumpy.
Is this story right for you? If you're looking for a book where the guy wins the girl and the big competition and the bully gets his comeuppance... that does not happen in this story. If you are looking for torture porn that wallows in misery and the grisly details of horrible events, this book also is not for you. If you enjoy the occasional catharsis in tragedy, then this is a must-read.
I personally find that good writing is like good food. While I may prefer certain kinds of food (e.g. Tex-mex) to others when the quality is dubious, when the quality is at its highest the "kind" of food doesn't even matter. "Slip Away" is not the usual genre of book for me (I typically restrict myself to SF, Fantasy and the occasional rock'n'roll biography). But it is a book that rewards reading, and is well worth the measly $4 price tag for the experience. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good writing.
Slip Away *is* great. It's a nuanced story with real authentic human characters. Rory is flawed, but he's earnest and I was rooting for him the whole time. The settings and situations have a realness to them that's not easy to come by even for experienced writers. Joel creates an entirely believable world. The story drew me in and kept me hooked until the end. After I was done, it stayed on my mind for days afterward. It's thought provoking. It's hard to read Slip Away and *not* be moved by it. This is real art coming from an honest place and well worth your time to read.