Saturday, April 26, 2014

REVIEW: Stones - Polly Johnson


“Thought Diary: ‘A whole lot of nothing.’ Me.”

Coo had an older brother, Sam, biologically speaking. But being the alcoholic he was, she never did have a brother. When he dies, she turns away from school – she can’t stand the sympathy, she turns away from her parentswhen were they ever there when she needed them? - she turns away from herself, because she knows something that no one else does. And even though the Shrink Woman is trying to get her back, it doesn’t work, until one day she meets Joe, an older student at her school, and the next day she meets Banks, a tramp. Her thought diary which until then was an exercise in pointlessness becomes meaningfuleven helpful.
But that doesn’t help with the ghosts.

I liked the writing which I thought was honest and didn’t try too hard to impress. I liked the way the thought diary extracts were used as epigraphs to each chapter. I liked the character evolution of Banks a lot. It was careful, and realistic. In fact, the only character that had actual depth, with the possible exception of Coo, was Banks. But, I felt that Corinne’s instant attraction to Joe was not at all necessary. Even the Shrink Woman – who is not one of the main character - came across as a better character, dimensionally.

Again, this might be only me. Everyone says I have weird preferences.

Unfortunately, I do have experience with alcoholics and their families. I do know how it tears them apart.  I do know about the constant paranoia, I do know about the extent of normalcy possible, how real smiles can get. This book deals with After Sam, and Coo’s and her family’s rehabilitation, but Corrine seems ... reparable from her time in During Sam. I realize this comes across as me being unfeeling, but I felt there should have been more of Corrine/Sam flashbacks for the reader to get an idea of what Coo’s going through. 

But I haven’t ever read a book before with tramps (I understand it’s rude to say “tramps” but Coo calls them that, and so shall I) in it, and I am grateful for this fresh perspective.
And the stones. Let’s not forget the stones.

VERDICT: 3 stars


Kindly make allowances if you find my posts getting sporadic in the next one month. I have exams running (one got over today that was so bad I could literally cry a river – but who cares?) and my internet connection is useful enough to let people know I’m not dead. Anything eating more bytes than that and I'll have to sit and stare at a revolving circle.

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