My thoughts on The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro.
I rarely give a book a 1-star rating. By rarely I mean this is the first time I have ever given a book such a pitiful rating. If I give it two stars in my opinion it isn’t worth your time. If I think a book is only worth a single, solitary start I normally stop reading said book, but I really was hoping this one would prove to be worth it in the end - I was wrong.
The plot was a train wreck. By train wreck I mean that it wasn't good, not that the plot involved a train wreck, an actual train wreck could only have helped. To be honest I'm still not entirely sure what the plot was, at times the plot seems to have been obscured by it's teenage character's innermost thoughts. Whatever the actual plot was it had to be more interesting that the inner workings of these two character's minds.
The characters were unconvincing. Maybe they weren't unconvincing. Maybe they were just really, really annoying. To be honest, and this is more about me than the book or it's author (so if the author reads this know that it’s not you it’s me), the one thing that drives me crazy in a book is an overabundance of emotional angst. This book fairly dripped with emotional torture. Sometimes the character's emotions had emotions. And if Ms. Cavallaro reads this review and finds herself experiencing many of the same tortured emotions of her characters I would encourage her to take heart, I doubt I am in the book's target audience anyway. I'm just a dude, pushing 40, who likes engaging and interesting Sherlock Holmes stories. I suspect the target audience for this book was more the reader of the Twilight series. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
As I reflected on my disappointment in this book I was reminded of the words of Malcolm Gladwell. “Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade…It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head – even if in the end you conclude that someone else’s head is not a place you’d really like to be.”* The view into these characters heads didn’t engage, and it didn’t make me think. Ultimately it made me want to increase the speed on the Audible app so I could get out of their heads.
I really wanted to enjoy this book. As I writer I am not fond of writing negative reviews. Reading a book is like being in a relationship, but you know what they say, "If you can’t say something bad about a relationship you shouldn’t say anything at all." I found the first entry in this series quite enjoyable, but I read/listened to this particular book all the way through because I wanted to finish, not because I enjoyed the ride.
*Gladwell, Malcolm. What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2009. Print. Pg. XV