About a year and a half ago I read When We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino and I loved it. It’s one of my favorite books (even if I don’t mention it as much), so when I recently fell into a massive reading slump I thought I would read one of her other novels. I picked up Swear On This Life, and now I can’t seem to get past the second chapter.
The concept and premise is great, the execution is awful. The story is about a struggling writer reading a bestselling novel with rave reviews, and she quickly finds out its really about her tough childhood in rural Ohio, and to make matters worse it was written by her ex-boyfriend. The book is written from Emiline’s perspective and has excerpts from the book she’s reading.
See, intriguing premise right? So where did it all go wrong? The writing.
The novel in the book and Emiline’s point of view are not as different as I’d like them to be. If the book is coming from someone completely different and it’s being considered a masterpiece, it shouldn’t sound as if it could have been written by the protagonist of the main story. Writing different points of view is hard enough as it is, but describing something as a literary work of art is a tough call and even tougher to achieve. In other words, the book didn’t deliver the way I hoped it would.
Obviously, I haven’t finished the book and I’m missing out whole lot, and while I am interested to see how the story develops, I just can’t get through with it. When a book begins to feel like a chore, that’s when I start giving up on it.