Book info

The Visibles (2009)

The Visibles (2009)
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Rating
3.14 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
1416597360 (ISBN13: 9781416597360)
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English
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publisher
Free Press
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The Visibles (2009)
The Visibles (2009)

About book: At times this was the weirdest book, at other times it was great, but afterwards I found it rather forgettable. I read this on vacation and sped through it quickly. But, being on vacation and all, I didn't review it right away and when it came time to do so I found it a bit difficult to recall what this story was about. Summer Davis is growing up in Brooklyn when her mother up and leaves her family and mentally ill husband. From there the story moves through time, skipping years and changing locations as often as chapters. From New York City to rural Western Pennsylvania to Annapolis and Washington D.C. Summer grows up but never leaves her demons behind. Paralyzed between her own stagnating fears and her sense of duty in taking care of her depressed father Summer prevents herself from ever taking risks or changing. She longs to live outside herself, sometimes not responding to her own name and other times running away from opportunity, but never seems willing to actually take the risk in order to change her life. I think that Summer's story is probably familiar. Changing is difficult and it's tempting to allow life to flow by without becoming too engaged. But, reading this sort of passivity was maddening. Too many times I wanted to take her by the shoulders and tell her to do something. Anything. Even when spectacular opportunities are presented she drags her feet until it passes her by. And when she doesn't feel needed by her father she runs to her Great Aunt who's dying of cancer. Summer's life revolves around taking care of those who need her and when she runs out of those she seems adrift. It was a quiet book, a frustrating one, but it was effective for what I felt the author was trying to accomplish. Sara Shepard, the author, is the writer of Young Adult fiction series such as 'Pretty Little Liars' and 'The Lying Game'. I watch both of the television series based on these books and like them both (slightly addicted to 'Pretty Little Liars'). I don't read the books and if I ever do it will be when the shows are off the air. This is Shepard's first attempt at adult fiction and it's a commendable effort. Clearly she can write and clearly she understand the complications of growing up and dealing with mental illness. So why didn't this story stick with me? I'm not sure. It was fast paced but not exciting. It was relatable but not likable. Maybe I just recognized too much of myself in Summer. The snow globe incident. The snow globe incident. THE SNOW GLOBE INCIDENT. This book should have been called The Visibles: THE SNOW GLOBE INCIDENT OMFG for how often the snow globe incident was mentioned. SPOILER ALERT: SOMETHING HAPPENS WITH A SNOW GLOBE. And when you find out it will not be as monumental as the author hoped!We meet Summer Davis, our heroine... or something, because I'm not sure she is heroic, but Summer Davis is our narrator at any rate. That rate is soul crushingly slow and worthy of beating one's head against the desk. The story largely revolves around Summer's relationship with her father after her mother abandons them, his depression, and whether or not DNA plays a part in her family's very torrid history. Or something. The thing is, the plot is so heavy and full of odd plot devices and points that I'm not sure entirely matter. There is some stuff about science and DNA. There is some stuff about her father's depression, her guilt over taking care of him, her resentment over taking care him, her NEED to take care of him, there is the fact that her father has a secret... When Summer learns about that secret it's not at all moving. It's not shocking. It's just a flash in the pan, really. There is the fact that Summer Davis IS THE BIGGEST SAD SACK THAT EVER EXISTED OH JEEZ, there is her kooky Aunt Stella, there is the reckoning of all these things supposedly coming together: her mother's abandonment, her father's depression, his secret, her obsession with DNA and things happening for a reason, her family history, her inability to let go... I... it... I don't even know how to write a review about this book because I'm not even sure what happens. I mean, stuff happens, and it's all clear, you know, but at the same time it isn't clear and stuff doesn't happen and DSLKGHSLKHYOIRH. IT JUST DOESN'T OKAY??Towards the end I start to wonder if the main character is not really her father, as he is the only main character that has any sort of resolution. We meet Summer's brother and cousin and friend, and they are resolved, certainly. We see them change, but they are hardly secondary characters. They exist only to tell us more about Summer and what they tell us is what we already know: SUMMER IS THE SADDEST SACK OF SADNESS. Shepard writes beautifully. She constructs wonderfully choreographed sentences and has a keen awareness of how to involve emotion into dialogue and surroundings. What she does not do is makes sense of a plot that is so over burdened with wanting to be poignant that is becomes a giant, sloppy mess. The book ends. It simply... ends.
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Reviews
anita
Yeahhh, I really didn't think this was that great.
rhr2309
Entirely unremarkable.
ambermarina
Phenomenal read!
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