Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts, but often too preachy for my liking., 15 Dec. 2013
This review is from: She Is Not Invisible (Hardcover)
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I do not share the author's emotional response to coincidences. I feel most strategic thinkers will also feel the same way, as coincidences are things that we strive to make happen and to profit from. Because I could not feel anything enigmatic about coincidences, I found that part of the plot uninteresting.

Laureth's blindness is directly referred to throughout. Sadly it is often done in the form of a lecturing narrative. There was nothing wrong with exploring the difficulties and fears associated with her handicap, but it could have been done without making readers feel talked down to. Through Laureth it is suggested that in fiction blind characters are either pitifully weak or they have superheroic qualities. That has not been my experience , for example R.L. Stephenson's villains Blind Pew and Duncan Mackiegh. H.G. Wells wrote a short story, "The Country of the Blind", in which an entire community is blind.

At it's core "She's Not Invisible" is an adventure story. It reminded me in a quite few ways of "Walkabout", but perhaps the similar themes were just coincidences. At the start it seems like just an anxious naive 16 year old, worried about her father making stupid decisions that cause her to journey abroad in search of him. The mystery starts to deepen when she arrives in America.

The reader should be prewarned that Laureth's father's research into coincidence involved the ravings of psychoanalysts, which will be uncomfortable for many young readers. Those who are not already familiar with the mathematical aspects of coincidence, may find that aspect of the research interesting. I profoundly disagree though with the author's clear assertion that computers are bad at non-specific pattern finding.

As the adventure reaches its climax Laureth and Benjamin encounter violence. The first scene is genuine thrilling. Sadly I found the action in the final confrontation unconvincing. For example even "IF" a person could not see in a dark hotel suite, surely he would still expect there to be a bed in a bedroom.

There is always a warmth and simplicity to Sedgwick's characters that is very appealing. That alone is likely to keep you reading through to the end. The mysterious, seemingly superhuman, "Benjamin Effect", will also keep you intrigued.

Overall a writing style suited for younger teenagers, combined with a lot of adult themes, makes for a novel that I find quite hard to recommend reading for pleasure. On the other hand the plentiful psychological themes, makes this an ideal book for a student book review. Young writers would also benefit, from looking at what works and what doesn't in this ambitious novel.

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For anyone also interested in a non fiction book about an individual's experience of blindness, I can recommend "Emma and I" by Sheila Hocken.
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Location: Birmingham UK

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