Ian Reid’s debut fiction novel is narrated by an unnamed girlfriend of successful scientist, Jake. As she rides with her boyfriend to meet his parents, she considers ending things, and the couple have several deep, philosophical conversations about the human psyche. The tone is foreboding, and when the couple stops off at an old high school, we learn why.
I was so excited about this novel. Everything I read said that it has one of the best twists, and in fairness, it does. The twist is great.
So, why the two star rating?
My issue is that by the time I got to the twist, I simply didn’t. I’m going to try to explain without giving away the ending.
Basically, the nature of the twist itself prevents any type of very character development. The viewpoint character has no name, no personality, and narrates in a stream of consciousness fashion more pretentious than that of Holden Caulfield. I simply could not care about such an underdeveloped viewpoint character. Honestly, it made me angry. Then I got to the ending and I understood. I guess it’s not possible to have relatable characters when the surprise at the end is the only real reason to read the book.
This novel is all about the twist, and if that’s what you’re into, read it! Better yet, wait until the Charles Kaufman directed Netflix movie starts streaming. It may save you some time. If you want a novel that allows you to really get to know and fall in love with a character, this is not the book for you.
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