Some books we read because they’re gorgeously written, and some books we read because there’s a reveal at the end and we are SUCKERS for a reveal.
|I don't care as long as it's used effectively.|
(Also, some books we read because books i done read reviewed them hilariously.)
Holly and her husband, Eric, accidentally sleep in on Christmas Day. Eric has to rush right out the door because he’s late to fetch his parents from the airport, and Holly lingers in bed to mull the heck out of some foreboding thoughts before shuffling to the kitchen to start Christmas dinner for the family and friends due to arrive in a few hours.
But then the snow starts falling, and it keeps falling and falling some more until it’s basically a blizzard and there’s no chance of anyone venturing onto the roads . . . which leaves Holly home alone with their adopted teenage daughter, Tatiana. Why is this creepy? This shouldn’t be creepy. Just a nice lady and her sweet teenage daughter from a secluded orphanage in Siberia.
But it’s totally creepy. Because Holly wakes up that morning thinking that something followed them home from Russia. And she thinks that many times.
|But important, probably?|
So Holly is home on this perfectly benign, snowy Christmas Day with her Russian angel of a daughter who we are told is the prettiest and the best daughter who ever daughtered. But then Tatiana starts acting eerily out of character, according to the version of her character Holly's been giving us all along (a little heavy-handedly, Holly, don’t you think?), and the eeriness escalates into suspense, and you keep looking at the book cover and wishing it wouldn’t look back at you like that, and the next thing you know it's finished and you’re feeling really unsettled on a sunny afternoon.
So it accomplishes what it sets out to do, I think, but it’s no masterpiece of the written word. I got hung up on page 7 for a while because I was trying to think of any possible way this sentence wasn’t just the worst sentence:
Write down the way some shadow face is finally peering around a corner on this Christmas morning (they’d slept so late) and shown itself.
But once the story got rolling, I was along for the slightly bumpy ride.
After I read the last page, I spent some time flipping back to reread choice parts and see how they supported the conclusion. This, for me, is the most satisfying aspect of a book with a big reveal, because you’ve been collecting all these puzzle pieces along the way and now you get to step back and see how they fit together. But I came up with some extra pieces this time. The culprit could be sloppy writing, or it could be the same part of my brain that gets confused by a James Bond movie. That mystery remains unsolved . . . for now.