Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Before I Fall

Today I started reading Before I Fall, which is one of the galleys I took home last week. It was published today, but that's an irrelevant detail.
I'm around page 150 out of 480-- just so you have an idea of where I'm coming from.
I don't like this book very much. The main character and her friends are cruel, nasty people. I can't identify with them in the slightest (which isn't necessarily a problem). The only things I have in common with them are gender and age. I have those things in common with a lot of people. I feel like these characters are providing a bad, immoral example for readers. Again, lots of main characters are like this, and I don't have a problem with it. The problem with this is that they are portrayed as good. They're popular. They're happy. They've got boyfriends. They're supposed to be the people teenage girls aspire to be. They disgust me.
But even that isn't the main problem I have with the book. I can get around these issues. That just means that this isn't my type of book. I could put it down with little if any resentment if not for the final problem.
The plot of the book consists of the main character (Samantha) dying, then reliving her final day on Earth seven times. Interesting concept. It could have been done well. But no. The author (so far, I'm only halfway through the 3rd time, I think) basically took the exact same 50-odd page story and rewrote it seven times while changing slight details, adding/subtracting paragraphs based on those slight changes, and adding things such as "I'm having deja vu. This has happened before. I know what's going to happen. Am I going crazy?" That's not an actual quote by the way, but that's pretty much what Sam is thinking.
She may as well have written a story, revised it seven times (which is not a problem. Revising many times is good), and then decided to use all of the revisions as her final copy.
Maggie's done a similar thing in which she rewrote the same scene from three different perspectives. I only heard one of these, but I liked the idea. The thing was, she didn't combine them into one cohesive storyline. If she were to publish them together, she would present them as three views on the same story- not one story as a whole. This I am fine with. Before I Fall I am not.

At the moment, I plan on finishing the book. I want to see how it ends, and I would feel like it defeated me if I didn't. Of course, if it continues to deteriorate, I will stop. Probably.

Okay, rant is over now.

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