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Split Decision Paperback – 8 Jul 2015
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About the Author
Carmen Capuano was born in 1966, in Govan, Glasgow and is of Italian and Spanish descent. She left her native Scotland at the age of eighteen to seek her fortune in London. A full and varied career saw her tread the boards as a musical theatre performer, before undertaking such diverse jobs as a primary school teacher and veterinary assistant in Birmingham. She now lives in the small Worcestershire town of Bromsgrove. Interested in writing from an early age, it was only when she had her own children that she found her enthusiasm for story telling had not waned in any way and was still as alive and enticing as ever. "For me, writing is as essential to the soul as breathing is to the body."
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The plot begins in a shoe shop where best friends, teenagers Natalie and Stacey are shopping. The new pair of shoes which Natalie purchases – in a style which is way out of character for the sensible teenager, can be viewed as a metaphor for both her step into adulthood and what subsequently occurs. Natalie is soon called upon to make a split second choice and her decision heralds a chain of unexpected and shocking events.
The author does an excellent job of depicting the trials and tribulations of the teenage years and how they effect existing and new relationships: a time of burgeoning sexuality, when we strive to forge our own identity, sometimes putting us in conflict with our families who find it difficult to come to terms with their offspring entering adulthood. The balance between protecting their children whilst allowing them the freedom to grow is often a difficult one and I felt that the author touched on this in a sensitive fashion. I certainly identified with Stacey and Natalie from memories of my own teenage years and recognised how easily events could take the path they did.
The characters, the young people and the adults, were all very believable and the author is to be congratulated on using the events to illustrate their personal growth and changing family dynamics.The plot is cleverly and expertly written and certainly had me guessing and questioning my own preconceptions and prejudices.
All in all a super read. Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
Although I read through Split Decision by Carmen Capuano fairly quickly, I still found that it was quite a difficult book to sit down and review, because although there were many interesting points to this story, it was also a complicated and confusing one until everything came together at the end.
I will say that it deals with a very sensitive topic and I felt that not enough was discussed or expounded upon in regards to the aftermath and the emotional ramifications of that traumatic event for the character. Until all these events and moments come together and you have that clarification on what is going on, the story was a little monotonous in the first few chapters as we establish the friendship between the two girls and the "sliding doors" moment when her fate was decided with her decisions.
I was unsure at times of who the book's main demographic would be, what the target audience was. The characters are so young but the incidents and issues are very much of a mature nature, at times it read like a cautionary YA novel for teenagers, but other times it felt more developed and grown up. The other problem I experienced was the setting. I wasn't sure where this story takes place as the dialogue switches between American and British colloquialisms, there are American characters, Greek characters and I'm assuming English? I like to have everything around me fully established, whether it be the geographical setting, or the characters heritage.
Now that the negative is out of the way I will say that once the story gained momentum and we were thrown into the drama and chaos of that one night, I really started to like the story. Happening in real time almost, it became thrilling, dangerous, heartbreaking and gained the depth and entertainment factor that the story sorely lacked in the beginning.
I really enjoyed the male characters in Split Decision, we have two very different people, with two very different outlooks in life, two men completely dissimilar in moral values and I liked how the bad was highlighted and distinguished from the good and sweet. The dialogue too seemed to become something 'more',
'But most of all what I see is the indifference people show to each other." He raised his beer to his lips and took a long swallow. I waited for him to continue but he didn't seem inclined to.
"You can't save the world." It was a lame response and I knew it but there was nothing else I could say.
"No I can't save the world. But I can save those I care about." His eyes blazed with passion. There was a hidden depth to his words that I wasn't ready to probe.'
Over all it was a good read, it's just getting past those first few chapters inside a giggly teenage girls overly dramatic head that might prove difficult for some but trust me when you do read on it will be worth it. The story picks up speed and added drama and the characters seem to develop over the ensuing chapters too.
I went into this book kind of blind not fully understanding what it was actually about until I dived in. At times I became utterly confused as to what was going on but once it all merged it just clicked.
Natalie is a typical 15 year old girl who lives a very sheltered life. She has a good family and a best friend so what more can Nat want in life? While out shopping her destines collide and something she never thought possible was asked of her. Two boys who are total opposites of each other ask her out at the same time and on the same day. One boy she grew up with and one known to everyone as a trouble maker for his appearance alone. Natalie makes her decision and that sets her and her best friends life on a path of heartache and trauma yet filled with finding love and oneself in an unlikely person.
I will admit I was unsure of this book. When the chapters started dividing into sub chapters It threw me and I didn’t know if I would be able to finish it. I persevered and discovered a heart wrenching book with a delicate subject underneath. I was intrigued and once the book picked up I didn’t want to stop. The words used at times and the descriptions of normal things at times were a bit hard to follow. All in all it’s a very interesting read that I think people should try.