Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My New Friend; Great Minds Think Aloud, and My Dead Friend Sarah

So, when I started this blog, my plan was that after a few posts, Brooks, Asics, and Nike would start a bidding war to sponsor me, and that the New York Times, USA today, and The Onion would fight for the right to own my domain space.  I also expected that every bit of running gear I was ever curious about would show up at my door step: compression shorts, Gu-Chomps, headlamps, Gu-in a can, running-shoe cams, all of it would be graciously showered upon me by companies eager for me to pimp their gear, and ultimately, my novels would be picked up by Random House and be placed on every bookstore shelf possible.

Well, that hasn't happened (yet) but, I was approached by Great Minds Think Aloud Literary Community through GoodReads to be one of their site book reviewers. This means the chance to pick among a slew of novels, including many not yet released, and to dive in and then post my thoughts pretty much everywhere I can.  So, it has begun!  Look for a book review coming to you soon, and thanks to Great Minds Think Aloud for the opportunity. It also allows me to post some neat news, such as this freebie for your kindle they are offering today and tomorrow: Forgotten, by Doug Lucas

Goodreads is like the local coffee shop were you get to see local authors up close and find books that are amazing and unique that you otherwise would have never known about. I wanted to share my thoughts on one such novel.  The author is a blogger and seems to be a brother by another mother. (Check out his  deliciously twisted post about the danger of running with someone else's Ipod on.)

My thoughts on his novel,  My Dead Friend Sarah: by Peter Rosch
**Update: I'm happy to report that, since the time of this review (and not necessarily because of it) this novel has taken off on Amazon to be in the top 100 bestsellers in three different genres!

The premise of this novel, the characters, the set up, made me download with grand anticipation, and the novel did not fail to deliver. My Dead Friend Sarah is a smart and unique read that traces the thoughts of a newly recovering alcoholic who is having reoccurring dreams of a woman being kidnapped, and presumably killed.  As it is suggested for any alcoholic, he tries to "do the next right thing" and help this woman,  but in trying to prevent this from occurring, the question becomes, has his sickness been squeezed right back out of him? What do you get when a horse-thief stops drinking? Well, you get a sober horse-thief, as the saying goes, and a sober man out in the world can be way more dangerous than a drunken man holed up in his room with a bunch of empties.

The novel begins with a ping-pong of first-person narrators between Max, the main character, and Sarah, who is the object of his bizarre dreams. The back and forth was fun, but as it went on, it did begin to get a bit tiring, mostly because I feared the whole novel would be this way, but just as it got too much Sarah disappeared and so did her narrative. The reader, like Max, is left wondering where she went, is she alive? held hostage somewhere? and the bigger question, who is to blame?

The novel takes place in the mental topography of Max whose brain is a great place to visit. The more his thought processes began to spiral, the more the reader gets sucked in. It was like reading an Edgar Allan Poe story, trying to figure out if the main character is mad. You sort of think he's mad, yet you find yourself having empathy for his wild self-talk. The more I explored the terrain of his brain, the more I wanted to hear him think.

I kind of have an `in' with the topic, with my personal history of addiction recovery, working in the field of addiction, and writing my own novel of addiction. I'm thinking that if you have never waited for a liquor store to open then you would still love the novel, perhaps subtract a star, but if you are a Chuck Pahalniuk fan, add that star right back.  If  you have ever been "in the rooms"  the authors descriptions of AA in the novel are incredible and worth a read by themselves

Ultimately, the real test of any book for me is my level of enthusiasm in reading. Did I eagerly look forward to those reading moments? Did I make extra time to fit in a page or two in between the rest of my living? Did I make sure to swing by and grab the kindle when nature called? This novel hit all of those. In fact, I dangerously gave my wife a hushing noise as she tried to ask me a question during the last pages. This novel is a great dish of work told by an untrustworthy narrator, and it is fed to the reader in great bite-sized morsels.

**Don't just take my word for it, check out other readers who have given 5 stars.  My Dead Friend Sarah on Amazon:  


 STRAY, $3.99 on Amazon
Reviews of STRAY
Reviews of The Jade Rabbit

1 comment:

Cait the Arty Runnerchick said...

dang, so that wasn't Nike doorbell ditching me the other day?? ;) thanks for the review of the book and if it warrants the shhh of the wife and the ramifications that may ensue there i may have to check it out...lol.

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