Monday, 21 July 2014

Review #9 - Picture Me Gone

Title: Picture Me Gone
Author: Meg Rosoff
Publisher: Penguin
Published: 2013


A brief synopsis; (Via Goodreads)
Mila has an exceptional talent for reading a room--sensing hidden facts and unspoken emotions from clues that others overlook...      So when her father's best friend, Matthew, goes missing from his upstate New York home, Mila and her beloved father travel from London to find him. She collects information about Matthew from his belongings, from his wife and baby, from the dog he left behind and from the ghosts of his past--slowly piecing together the story everyone else has missed. But just when she's closest to solving the mystery, a shocking betrayal calls into question her trust in the one person she thought she could read best.
Now, because of the reputed success of 'How I Live Now' (I have yet too read the book or see the film), it is possible I expected more from this book.

I didn't initially like it. After the first couple of sentences, I was willing to give up. But I didn't, mostly because I a) love dogs, and b) love mysteries.

Dogs are a fundamental piece within this book, and whilst it did annoy me at first, as there seemed to be no relevancy at all besides the protagonist/narrator having senses like a dog (which isn't as weird as it sounds but it is still pretty weird), it was soon gotten used to and even - to an extent - enjoyed.

The whole book is based around solving a mystery. It's basically amateur detective work. (And I say amateur because of how young the narrator is, and plus, with that twist at the end, woah, was it really detective work?)

Another thing about this book that appealed to me once I really got into it, was the sense of languages. Now, I love foreign languages. So of course, having the foreign aspect entwined within the book was fantastic for me, even though they weren't languages I could speak and the references were few and far between. They were just wonderful to read about, and very relevant to the themes.

The thing for me that put me off the book most was the formatting. There were no speech marks.

Now, this is not the first intentional grammatically incorrect book that I have read - I loved Will Grayson, will grayson, and I have read several fanfics in this manner and even written one myself - but it was probably the most confusing.

I think it's because, despite there being a new indentation each time someone else supposedly spoke, there was no clear point as to where the speech ended and the narration begun (or vice versa). Which made it an exhausting read, as I had to focus to try and figure out what was speech and what was not. At some points, I am still entirely unsure.

Another thing that annoyed me was the narrator herself. She's young- extraordinarily young, and it's making me think, "does a 12 year old really act like that?" All I remember about being 12 is having to walk up 6 flights of stairs to get to my maths classroom. And having hideous hair and horrible layers of fat- but also being considered tall.

Ah, the good old days.

But then again, I'm not from London, so maybe some twelve year old's down south do smoke weed and make out with boys. Perhaps that's just not a done thing here in Birmingham. So that was an annoying thing- Oh, I should point out, it isn't the narrator doing the drugs, but a friend in the same year.

I didn't notice as much as she does at 12, but I guess it's cool that she takes into account so many things from her surroundings. Like a mini, female Sherlock Holmes. Even though it's heavily exaggerated;

This is the blurb from the back of my copy, so it isn't really a spoiler:
Mila has a gift. She can read a room, a person, a situation - and tell if you're happy, or pregnant, or having an affair. 
She really is like the BBC Sherlock.

So, due to it being an exhausting read, I'm afraid I can only give this book 3 and a half stars. (I'm going to change the rating system soon, when I can think of a better way.)

The storyline is very real, it isn't far fetched or completely out of the blue- which is why the book was a good read. The style just wasn't compatible with me, that's all.

Star Rating: 3.5/5

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