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Take My Picture

Take My Picture - Giselle Ellis It took me a while to work out why I didn’t like this book. At first I thought it was the juvenile behavior of the two protagonists or at least the childish way they spoke to each other, then I realized it was because this juvenile style didn’t match the narrative voice that linked all the dialogue together.Sometimes, the sane, descriptive telling of what was happening was mirrored almost immediately by mismatching dialogue which demonstrated/showed what the narrative had just described.Here’s an example of the “tell”: All because the thought of Aaron traipsing across his fucking dump of a neighborhood in the middle of the night to work on his pots because Jake kept him too busy during the day sent a stab of fear and worry through his gut so intense that only the purchase of said wheel and kiln could alleviate it.Shortly afterwards followed by the “show” of the same thing in the following dialogue:“Do you know where he lives? And he’s skipping around like Pollyanna in the middle of the night to go make ashtrays and kitty statues, or whatever the fuck he makes. He’s going to get mugged or killed, for chrissake!”This might have worked if the narrative had been in anyone’s head other than one of the two protagonists. In fact I’m not sure whose head half the narrative was in.At times it almost felt like some God on Olympus was looking down at a couple of actors in a Shakespearean farce.The book might have been brilliant if that had been the case, and this God had addressed the reader, telling the story of this crazy couple, interspersed by the actors showing it. The Alyson character could have even been a physical manifestation of this being who came down and interacted with each character as needed. But that's not what the author's written and I acknowledge that.The way it was written, I felt I was dealing with two people suffering from a bad case of multiple personality disorder.Then as the book progressed, their whacky juvenile dialogue became over the top deep and angsty. So I was thrown off the other end of the scale of disbelief.Usually, if I don't like a book, I don't write a review about it. The old "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all dictum". However in this case, I am, because to me, basic writing flaws which could have been fixed, detracted from the story.This dichotomy of perceptive telling of what was going on in their lives and in their heads, interspersed by juvenile action or dialogue didn't cut it for me.Here's another example: He found Jake to be rather fragile beneath his gruff and highly irritating exterior. He was brilliant and amazing at what he did. He was strong and bold in his studio, in his world; but take him out of that world and he was uncertain, almost shy. Aaron could never understand how someone could be so in control of their world, their own little environment, but be so out of control in the bigger world.These are meant to be the thoughts of Aaron, the same person who has dialogue like this:“I thought he was the devil,” Aaron said, scrunching up his face in confusion. “Emotionally retarded assholes generally don’t start smoking after being doused with holy water. They usually start smoking after fucking some random guy, then kicking him out of bed before the condom comes off.”Again if the inner thought had been by a seperate entity interpreting Aaron's behaviour and thoughts from up on high, it might have worked.Structurally the start is confusing also as you have a prologue that jumps to five years in the future - ie the present - told from Aaron's point of view. This is followed by Chapter One.Now you would expect this to follow on timewise, but it doesn't, it starts at the same time as the prologue then jumps forward only six months.Again I have no problem with this concept. In fact I've used it myself in a story written long before this one. But it could have been done differently eg: "What Came Before - according to Aaron" and then "What Came Before - according to Jake".Make the fact that we're seeing the same scene through two different eyes more obvious. Make it a feature.I know a lot of my friends love this book, but I’m sorry I didn’t. Maybe I'm the Grinch that stole Christmas. At least it seems to be selling well, and that's the main thing. Isn't it?