I’m having a hard time even starting this post because I don’t feel passionately about this book in any way whatsoever. Which sucks. I am very neutral, I didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. I don’t feel as inclined to write about it.
And that was a problem for me. As a writer, I use other books as fuel, and if the book does its job, I feel properly fueled before I start working on my own book, which btw, I’m halfway through my third draft. This book did not fuel me, so it was sort of forced reading from the get go. But there were reasons I kept reading.
So. Since I am neutral, which I hate. I prefer to have an opinion, but since I am neutral, I’m just going to get into my likes and dislikes.
Obviously other people are liking this book, it has sold a fair amount of copies, and I am not surprised because it is aimed at a certain type of reader that definitely exists in the world and I bet there are a lot of them. I am not the reader for this book. You need to understand that before you read my review, because I am biased. This book was not written to appeal to me but it might appeal to you.
Let’s start first with my dislikes, because, tbh, I just want to talk about them, get them off my chest so they aren’t weighing on me.
(And this kills me, by the way, to have any dislikes at all. I’m a writer myself and I love to appreciate other author’s work, and I appreciate this book, but it definitely wasn’t aimed at me.)
1. The Length
This book was too long. Way, way, way too long. I got the point of the whole book ½-¾ of the way through, and while new things kept happening and the plot twists never stopped, I still couldn’t understand why the book needed to be so long.
That being said, the best part of the book, and it is split up into parts, four parts to be exact, but the best of the book was definitely part 2. The first part is like this REALLLLY long setting of the scene. Seriously. That’s about all I got from it. The third and fourth parts are like necessary, but could have been absorbed into part two, or absorbed into each other, like Pawnee and Eagleton in Parks and Recreation… lol.
2. The Flashbacks
So, this book is sort of structured around this life before the afterlife, and because of that, I was sort of yearning for the life before and feeling super bored reading about the afterlife. There weren’t enough flashbacks to keep me reading, and a lot of the flashbacks were like as fleeting as the flavor of Hubba Bubba gum. I found myself reading one flashback and being so depressed that it was over that I flipped through the following pages, counting how many I would have to read before another flashback happened. And typically, there were too many pages.
3. The Plot
I feel like Patrick, the author, was just as confused about what was going on as our main character, Seth. A lot of it went unexplained, and it was so technologically advanced that I kept thinking perhaps the reason he kept Seth so confused the whole time was because even he didn’t know how to explain the reason anything was happening.
I think his characters ran away with the story a lot, too. Which happens, all of a sudden your characters are telling you the story rather than the other way around, and that was cool and all, but again, considering the length, it wasn’t always necessary.
It was certainly imaginative though. I will give him that.
SPOILER ALERT BELOW
1. The Snippets of Romance – *Spoiler Alert*
So Seth and Gudmund really killed me with feelings. They are what kept me reading. I want a book JUST about them. PATRICK. Please give us that book.
Patrick described their relationship so perfectly, so sweetly, so soundly, and he did it all in like fifteen pages worth of flashbacks… How he managed to make me feel like I had known this couple my entire life in fifteen (or so) pages is just beyond me.
But it WAS fifteen (or so) pages of flashbacks… out of 470 pages… which means… IT WASN’T ENOUGH. I kept reading hoping there would be more, hoping I would be rewarded with this sensual, sexy, adoring relationship and I never got the more (which is ironic considering the title).
2. The Message
The overall message of this book is a good one. Essentially, Patrick is consoling your anxious self at night as you toss and turn in your existential crisis wondering what’s out there and what happens to us when we die, and he’s patting you on the back and saying “there’s more than this.” You aren’t constricted to this life or the next, you’re eternal, it never ends, so don’t give up.
3. The Pacing
Even though I was frustrated with the length, this book did move along at a steady pace, nothing was EVER rushed, and even though I tend to think it lulled on slightly, it did move and it did turn and it did manage to stick to this consistent pace and I have to admire it. Long, but moving. It did not stall at any point, there was just too much material.
The Boston Globe described it as having “masterful pacing.” They weren’t lying. It was masterful.
But, it wasn’t enough. I didn’t find it to be a satisfying read and I wasn’t particularly enthused with the unsettled ending. So instead of recommending to everyone, I will recommend to those interested in small doses of the following:
Fans of An Abundance of Katherines might also enjoy, the characters are decidedly similar.