A word about bestsellers: I hate them. I do not actively seek them out as reading material. This one has been at the top of the charts for SO long now, and the package IS pretty. My curiosity finally caused me to cave, and it was, pretty much as I anticipated, a 3-star read. Bestsellers usually are, for me. They're not terrible but they're designed to appeal to an average reader or to engage the predominantly non-reading public.
This wants to lie in literary fiction on the scale between Uncle Tom's Cabin and To Kill a Mockingbird. I hated the first and can't remember if I ever finished the second. There, that's one of my ugly truths. Sorry.
So how then, did it achieve 4 stars? The characters are type-cast, wonderful or mean. The writing is at times over-blown and caused severe eye-rolling due to syrupy sentimentality. The life-lesson wisdom is heavy-handed and the inclusion of poetry is just awful.
I know, you hate me now. It's okay.
But I've ripped the Band-Aid of my ugly feelings off so I could show you how this book worked for me in the end:
1. The nature writing and descriptions of Kya's illustrations are beautiful. 2. I genuinely do believe most people are inherently good, or at least, struggle to be, so the secondary characters do ring realistically on the spectrum. 3. The ending. Just keep rolling your eyes till the ending and it will weirdly fall into place WHY this has been a bestseller for over a year. I think the author is blatantly manipulative as most of us are, capable of strong research and genuinely a really nice person.
While I will continue to avoid Oprah and Reese Book Club recommendations like the plague and largely ignore bestseller charts, I'm glad I finally solved the mystery of this one. It can go away and leave me alone now.
By the way, I never expect to be popular.
Actual Rating: 3.75 stars Format: Kindle Source: Amazon Current ebook price: $14.99 Opinion of Price: In another year or two, this will be in used bookstores everywhere. Wait, or get in line at the library and wait equally long. My Cost: $11.99