Tuesday, November 17, 2015

CBR 7 Review 3: Her by Harriet Lane

“I found the final plot twist unsatisfying, as plot twists often are: nothing like life, which - it seems to me - turns less on shocks or theatrics than on the small quiet moments, misunderstandings, or disappointments, the things that it's easy to overlook.” 

That quote was strategically chosen because I found the final plot twist of this DEEPLY unsatisfying. Remember how the last book I reviewed was all about apathy and no vitriol? I've saved that for this entry. It's been three months since I read this book and I can still feel the white hot fury finishing it inspired in me.

There's not a ton I can do by way of plot synopsis, both because of spoilers and the nature of how little actually happens. Nina and Emma, our primary characters and the two POVs our book's narrative bounces between, meet seemingly accidentally and seem to have little in common. It's fairly obvious from the get go that Nina knows who Emma is, while Emma has no memory of Nina.  An odd sort of friendship is manipulated into being by Nina and develops over the course of the story, leading to...well, a lot of spoilers and nothing.

In a non spoiler capacity, this book infuriated me. There are slow burns, and then there's absolutely glacial pacing. Things happen so slowly in this book that I would fall asleep during chapters. The only reason I kept reading at all was that I assumed there was going to be a wham-bang finish to justify how much everyone seemed to be losing their minds over its greatness. Boy howdy was I wrong. The end is such a complete pile of bullshit and questions that I actually threw my Kindle across my couch. The justification for Nina's behavior is practically non existant, and if you're building this story as "sociopath stalks woman" then fine, but that's not the story being told her. The history they tease constantly is nothing at all, and does nothing more than confirm that Nina is a terrible person, which is a thing we learn really fucking early.  And that ending?  Highlight for spoilers: What?? HOW? Who in their right mind thinks it's OK to threaten drowning a toddler and then NOT ACTUALLY TELL YOUR READERS IF IT HAPPENED OR NOT? That's not a cliffhanger, that's just rampant douchebaggery. It would be tragic enough if it ended with Nina succeeding in her mission to be a HORRIBLE SOCIOPATH WHO MURDERS CHILDREN BECAUSE HER DAD WAS A MANWHORE WHO FLIRTED ONCE WITH THEIR MOTHER but to not even tell us what happens??  WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK?

OK, so that's that. If you are a person that loved this book, that made it pop up on all my must read lists this summer, that got it on the bestseller list - feel free to leave comments and explain to me why. Because I just don't get it.

Check out more great reviews at Cannonball Read!

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