Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fairy Tales - Literally

I recently finished the novel Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon.

I really enjoyed it. This was another book that skipped around in time - every chapter took place in a different decade. The book chapters also each featured a different protagonist - the more modern ones featured a woman in her thirties named Phoebe, the chapters from 15 years prior feature a young girl named Lisa.

At the crux of the story lies the mystery of what, exactly, happened to a 12-year-old girl named Lisa, who disappeared one summer. The most logical train of thought - 12-year-old girl disappears and has been missing for 15 years - isn't pretty. The flashbacks and the interesting people Phoebe and her boyfriend (who happens to be Lisa's younger brother) Sam encounter when the possibility that Lisa's returned, however, makes the reader question this concept of reality.

Lisa was an interesting little girl - very pretty, very imaginative, and one of those people that other people tend to like. & Lisa believed in fairies.

In fact, the summer that she disappeared, Lisa thought she was contacting fairies, and was going to be brought into the fairyland to become Teilo (the fairy king) 's queen.

So 15 years later, Sam and his cousin Evie begin receiving strange messages and encountering odd situations that seem like the sorts of things that fairies who are complete assholes might be perpetrating, & have to wonder - was Lisa right? Was she in the fairy kingdom for 15 years? & is she now back?

I really, really enjoyed this book. For some reason, the length of the book surprised me (464 pages). The novel still read very quickly, however, while not being insipid or stupid. This isn't really a beach read, but I do recommend reading it.

There was one thing that sometimes irked me about the book - the protagonist changes. Every chapter had that different focus - one for Phoebe, one for Lisa - and sometimes, it was a little jarring. I think, however, that it did actually work in the way that the author intended. When you're discussing subjects such as child kidnapping, possible rape, murder, and not-very-nice fairies, jarring the reader a little bit is a good thing.

So it's a serious book, and it questions the concepts of reality and perception. Really, at the end of the book, I was slightly spooked, though while reading the majority of the book I wouldn't say it was a horror story.

If you're interested in reading some more about the book, other reviews, or pre-ordering, the author's website is here. The book is being released in May of this year.

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