I came to this week’s book in an unexpected way. A little birdie happened to mention that someone we both know had written a book. Three things folowed this bit of information in fairly quick succession: 1) I emailed Rowe Wildsmith to say that I’d feature her on 52 Good Books 2) I downloaded the book from the Kindle app 3) I began reading…
It is an odd feeling when you discover that someone you know in one context is very capable of doing something in another context. On the back of Tom Hanks’ book is a review saying that discovering Tom Hanks can write is like ‘finding out that Alice Munro is also the greatest actress of our time.’ I did have to Google ‘Alice Munro’, but even so, I know the feeling. I am having to redefine all my ideas about Wildsmith.
E Day is a young adult story based on a group of teenagers who begin to undergo strange flashbacks and memories following the death of a friend. Why did he die and what do their symptoms mean? Getting to the bottom of this will take the length of this gripping novel. And boy does Wildsmith know how to tell a story. This is a well thought out, carefully structured plot and the characters are wonderfully drawn. There is a lot going on in this story however and I did on occasion struggle to keep up with it all.
At the beginning there was something about this teen drama that made me think ‘America’ and it was only with the mention of ‘corner shops’ or some other such Britishism that I would jolt myself and remember that the book was set in the UK (just take a look at the cover if you’re in any doubt!) The story itself however became more and more entrenched in Britain as it progressed. There were links to the second world war that ran through it, so by the end I couldn’t fail to remember where we were. The whole book also became quite dark in the latter part of the story. Without saying too much, the ending is quite dramatic. I would liken it to a modern teen version of Shakespearean tragedy.
You may by now have picked up my personal bugbear when it comes to books; Dialogue. I need realistic yet readable dialogue. Like Goldilocks, it shouldn’t be too long or too short, it needs to be just right. E Day’s dialogue was realistic, but a little overly wordy. The narration of the book could also do with trimming, but this is life when you are a self published author and don’t have an army of people editing your work like the big publishers provide. And this is what I think readers have to appreciate when it comes to the self published book market. There is one person, just one, who writes and edits an entire novel. If they are lucky they will have a friend or two look over it, if they are feeling plush they will pay for a professional editor.
The typos and so on in E Day are entirely expected. What I wasn’t expecting however was Wildsmith’s skilled construction of a world where we become so embroiled in the ordinary and extraordinary lives of these teenagers. She has a talent for dissecting human emotion and motivations and for me it is this that makes the book sing.
I’d like to thank the little birdie that informed me about Wildsmith. I’m very pleased to have read E Day and will be on the look out for more such material from this dark horse. If you too are a little birdie then don’t forget to visit my suggest a book page. It’s the little birdies of this world that make 52 Good Books go round.
Next Monday I’ll be reviewing ‘Behind the Mask is Nothing’ by Judy Birkbeck. I hope you’ll be back again to read it!