I have just finished reading The Cemetery Girl by David Bell and while it is fresh in my mind thought I’d write a quick review of it.
Briefly the story is about a 12 year old girl who goes missing, believed kidnapped and how the family cope with that over the four years that she is gone and then how they cope when she finally returns, not saying anything about where she has been.
When I read the synopsis I thought that sounded like a promising story, and indeed it was. For the first half of the book. Bell tells the story from the father’s point of view in the first person and initially manages to capture his bewilderment and the constant questioning of himself that we would all do if, God forbid, this happened to any of us. However, once Caitlin, the daughter, returns the pace slows down so much that I found myself willing the characters into conflict. There was quite a bit of pointless dialogue where nothing further was gained and conversations were also repeated, albeit in a slightly different way.
My main problem with this book however was the development, or lack thereof, of the relationships throughout the book. The whole novel is based around Tom’s relationship with his family and those who try to help during the transition from Caitlin’s disappearance to her subsequent return and integration back into the family. It is obvious that he doesn’t agree with his wife or her way of coping but that is never fully explored. Abby, the wife, displays some fairly odd behaviour but we never really find out why. Tom’s relationship with his brother, Buster also leaves a lot to be desired descriptively speaking. Tom accuses him of being the kidnapper on more than one occasion and even asks if he slept with Caitlin. Buster, however doesn’t appear to react to these accusations in any way that I believe a reasonable person would. He still comes round to chat to Caitlin, and Tom and Abby seem quite happy for this to happen. Then in the next chapter Tom and Buster, are together again discussing possible scenarios for what may have happened, before Tom accuses him again of some nefarious act.
Lastly, although I am trying not to give any plot spoilers, we never actually find out completely what happened to Caitlin, or why she behaves the way she does. It was as if Bell got bored of the story and decided to leave us in suspense. The majority of the text was leading up to getting Caitlin to talk and building the tension but the climax never materialised and left me very disappointed as a reader.
What started out as a great story with a very promising plot, fell flat and did not deliver what Bell set out to do, give us a great story about relationships under extreme circumstances. Maybe this was because the characters themselves were underdeveloped. I don’t know but I won’t be in any hurry to buy his next book.
Last year I was lucky enough to stumble upon a website that you probably know called Goodreads. I have no idea how I missed this great site for so long but once I found it I was completely hooked. For those of you who have yet to experience the delights of Goodreads I’ll explain a little about it here.
When you sign up you will be asked questions about the kind of books you like to read and your lifestyle etc. Once you have done this you will see on the homepage recommendations based on the answers you gave. This is great because you will find books on the genres you love that you had forgotten about or have read and want to read again or brand new books that you just have to read. You get to rate the books and compile your own lists of those you have read, those you want to read and the book you are currently reading. Sounds good so far but not amazing? Ah there’s more.
You can join forums to chat about anything literature related, you can vote for books in Goodreads polls. You can answer quiz questions about books, authors or film adaptations and you can even make your own quizzes, challenge your friends and other like minded readers.
There are two things about Goodreads that I really love. The first is my author page. Once you become a published writer you can set yourself up as an author member with your own page, links to your books and a blog if you wish. You can also link this to your Twitter and Facebook accounts thus improving your writing profile. Once you do this you will find more and more requests to be your friend. Unlike FB you don’t update statuses or talk about your personal life this is purely about reading so your ‘friends’ will be following your literary life, seeing what you are reading, commenting on your books reviews etc etc. Goodreads is used by well known authors too so you never know you may find that you have Stephen King or Phillipa Gregory taking an interest in you.
The second thing I love about this site is the challenges you can set yourself. I personally do the yearly book challenge where you have to nominate the number of books you will read in a year. Last year I said I would read 73 and I managed 75. This year I have challenged myself to read 80. This is great for me because I have such a massive bucket list of books I want to read, I find myself making time to read so I don’t fall behind on my challenge. It keeps up with you and tells you what percentage you have left to go or if you are falling behind too.
So to sum up. Goodreads is great. A definite favourite you should add to your task-bar.
Here is a link and don’t forget to look me up and ask to be my friend.
Look forward to seeing you there.
Not an original title I grant you but the sincerity is real.
I have read a number of posts on Twitter and Facebook wondering what resolutions people are making. Resolutions have always baffled me somewhat. I find it strange that just because the number on the end of the year has changed that people have to decide to change something about their lives too. Why not do it on Christmas Day or your birthday. I think it is an arbitrary day where hungover people can make excuses for past behaviours.
“What a cynic” I hear you cry. You may be right but I very rarely, if ever hear of a positive resolution. i.e. I am going to keep doing…… rather than I am going to stop doing…….
So here is mine. This year I am going to resolve to keep making no resolutions whatsoever. It’s one I’ve stuck to every year so far.
What are yours?