Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book Review: "What She Left" by T.R. Richmond

"What She Left" by T.R. Richmond did not engender good reading for me. I must admit, I do really hate doing two things when it comes to books. One, wasting precious time reading a dud of a book and two, having to review said book. So, it seems I'm suffering both this time.

The basic gist of this book is the collation of all the things written, thought or felt about Alice Salmon. Alice died by falling off a bridge and drowning one snowy night after going out drinking with friends. University Professor Jeremy Cooke decides to write a book all about Alice and he starts collecting everything he can to flesh out her life. "What She Left" is told using all the articles, blog posts, letters, texts etc. that pertain in any way to Alice. Unfortunately, how T.R. Richmond jumps back and forth in time and also moves from one character's point of view to another, makes the book very hard to follow and ultimately leads to a convoluted and unappetizing story.

I found myself, as I got through about 40% of the book, wishing it would just end. At first this format sounded like an interesting and unique way of giving the reader the pieces of the story. But what actually happened is I found myself caring less and less for the character of Alice, sheerly because I felt that every hour of reading was an hour wasted. In the end even the conclusion of whether Alice's death was an accident, suicide or murder was totally unsatisfying. For the first time in many years, I just didn't care why Alice was dead, I just wanted the book to end! For these reasons I give this book only two stars out of five.


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