Sunday, September 09, 2007
So, speaking of cancer...
This was the first self-published title I read. I was really, really pulling for the author. I wanted her to overcome that cover. I wanted it to be good because, well, I'm selfish and I would have to say here, in public, what I thought of it. I've put it off for months. Months.
Thirteen-year-old Kay has it good. Her parents are nice, she's got great friends and the cute 16-year-old jock, Jamie, sees something in the shy blond girl. Soon she's got a boyfriend the other girls envy (in a friendly way). She has everything she could possibly want. But then there's a tragic car crash and an ominous diagnosis. The perfect boyfriend and her perfect life is no more.
I'm sorry, Kitt Raser Kelleher. This Time, Last Year wasn't good. Perhaps with a good editor to reign the story and language in...I won't deny that some love a good depressing read, but did Jamie's mom really need to lose her husband (before the book opened), her older son (car crash near the beginning), AND her younger son (cancer, at the end)? Seems like just two of those would be enough. Which isn't to say that no mother out there hasn't gone through something similar, but it was rather over the top here. In addition, point of view was all messed up. Kelleher would have been better off going with 3rd person. As it stands, there's an uncomfortable mesh of 1st limited and 1st omni, which, well, doesn't work.
On a second read, I found that the foreshadowing was well done, until Kelleher took it too far by page 82. Also, Jamie's doctors SUCK. It took them, what, at least two months to diagnose him? And then that was the hospital staff, due to the car wreck.
As much as I deride Lurlene McDaniel, well... if you happen to have this lying around and someone doesn't much care about grammar or language in general and who wants to be attached to the tissue box for the duration, well, there ya go. This will work until the next sob-fest gets published. In all fairness, This Time, Last Year does highlight that life does go on after loss. No matter how acutely you feel the death of a loved one, the love you felt for them will still live, but you must move on. In time.
Also, if you need a kissing primer - this'll do it. See p 57.
And, as for self published titles, I've actually read worse since this one. It was a picture book depicting scenes from the Bible where all the people are, inexplicably, frogs. This includes the Crucifixion scene. And just so we're clear: Crucified frogs. You knew they were dead because of the x-ed out eyes and the protruding tongues. It was disturbing and grotesque. (and shamefully, just a little bit hilarious in an entirely appalling way.)