Sunday, April 07, 2013

Midpoint Commentary

True to my quirky, offbeat, charming (I'm charming, right?  RIGHT?) format, I feel the need to write about a book I'm smack in the middle of.  I honestly don't quite understand waiting till you're done with a book to want to talk about it--I mean, now is when I'm chewing it over in my head, right?  So I seize the moment.

It's called One Step Too Far, by Tina SeskisI've never read or heard of the author before--I was drawn to the blurb, picked it up somewhat randomly, and the premise is quite intriguing.  It opens with Emily on a train, speeding away from her husband, child, home, and life with the contents of her duffel.  She's clearly in a bad place--they'll be better off without her, she needs to just get away and start over cleanly.  But there's no real information on what she's escaping from.

The story flips back and forth between the present--Emily calls herself Cat, finds a room, looks for a job--and flashbacks.  Childhood, meeting her husband, her relationship with her sister.  Good, compelling snippets that are fitting together to show a nice life and hint at the darkness that's coming.  I'm having a good time with the book.

But here's where the authorial trust thing comes in.  There are some slightly risky things going on here, and I don't know Tina Seskis at all.  I have no idea if these choices she's making--the frequent switches of viewpoint character in the flashbacks; the very broad showing-not-telling descriptions of Emily's early childhood--are fumbles or solid choices. 

I won't know till we get to the end.  Honestly, this is more of a nailbiter for me in a book than actual will-they-won't-they questions about spies getting caught or characters hooking up--is the author giving me a flashback to this secondary character's childhood for a reason?  Or just because they thought it was interesting character building?  Are we going to delve into everyone's past as we go on, or was that one non-Emily history a one-off?  The tension, it's killing me. 

So far, though, there's some great stuff going on here.  I love detailed how-tos, and there's some great "how to walk out of your life" stuff here (it helps that she has valid ID with her maiden name on it), and the vignettes from the past and the present are well-drawn, frequently touching, and sympathetic.

Of course, a lot of the success of this book is going to hinge on what I presume is the Big Reveal.  I'll let you know how that turns out.

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