Hmm, what to say. I’d title the book SO MUCH UGLY.
This book seemed like an attempt to make a fresh story out of rehashed sad stuff (abduction & murder, Columbine-like tragedy), and I didn’t like it for doing that.
It was decently written but tediously over-detailed, with tons of background that hung there, waiting to become significant or be brought back into the story. The author has a penchant for sentence fragments that grated on me. The characters are fascinating, but Hoffman does not distinguish their voices enough to make them seem individual — Flynn sounds like Constant sounds like Alice sounds like … you get the picture. All that would have been fine, though, had the story been in the least bit satisfying.
When I finished it, I felt *dirty* … I felt like I had watched something atrocious being done to many people, and there was no redemption and no light at the end of the tunnel. Is the epilogue supposed to be upbeat? It’s not — it’s horrifying. The entire book is a huge downer. I was sucked in to care about some of the characters and was given a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions — without the period costume and missing any usable lessons. It’s as though the author invites readers to examine certain ideals, hope for the future, individualism — and then dashes all that against the rocks of ignorance, decay, and rage. I will need to read a new book quickly to get this taste out of my mouth.
Don’t get me wrong – some people might truly enjoy this exploration of what might lie beneath the surface of any ordinary-looking community. Go for it. I just don’t need SO MUCH UGLY in my life – there’s enough on that on the nightly news.