22 November 2016

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein



     I did not like this book. I said I would start writing reviews even if it was just to say “I liked it” or “I did not like it.” Well, I did not like this book. The weird thing is I remembered reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by the same author and loved it. It was a book written from the perspective of a dog, and I self avowed dog-hater liked that book. So, I was pretty excited to find this one.

     A Sudden Light was the story of a boy and his father who return to their family home to help out his aunt who has been taking care of his aging grandfather. The boy’s father and aunt wanted to put the grandfather into a facility that could take care of him better and sell the house. But as soon as the boy moves in he realizes that the house is haunted, or the grandfather is haunted, or maybe the boy himself is haunted by a homosexual ghost who is some distant relative and doesn’t want the land to be developed but rather wants it returned to nature because….because he loves nature. Also as it turns out the aunt actually has been creating dementia like symptoms in the grandfather because she’s actually crazy.

     I think it’s biggest flaw was that it felt incomplete, like the author hadn't decided what his book was going to be about. I couldn’t tell if this was a book about man’s destruction of nature, or a book about bringing justice to the homosexual community, or a book about a boy bringing redemption to his family. I think it was the latter. I say I think because it felt super scattered and in the end I felt like he lost his family. Nearly literally. I’m not going that deep into it because I actually don’t really think it’s worth a read. I hated the end. No, let me revise that. I HATED  the end. 

   At the beginning of the book I got a clue there was a line that said something like “The gravel crunched under the car like dried bones.” Really? I realize you are setting up an atmosphere, but don’t beat me over the head with it. I didn’t heed the warning and I wasted some time reading this. Don’t do it. I'd have to read it again to be sure, but I think I can say The Art of Racing in the Rain was really good. So, I'm not ready to write off this author entirely.

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