Oh dear Jesus in Heaven…I don’t even know where to start with this book without sounding like Ozzy on a bender. So… I guess I could always start at the beginning. Sound good to you? (Nod your head yes.)
The beginning (aka the synopsis)
“A mysterious young woman calling herself Jane turns up in a small New England town. She claims a fragmentary memory of growing up in this place, yet she has never been here before in her life. Upon her arrival, strange and alarming things begin happening to some of the town’s inhabitants. As Jane’s memories reawaken piece by piece, they carry her back in time to a long-buried secret, while the townspeople hurtle forward to a horrific event when past and present fatally collide.”
Horror takes a certain brand of person to enjoy it. More often than not we are amused by disturbing descriptions (for instance splattered bodily fluids) the more mentally incompetent a person is the better, we take pleasure in disillusionment, the unrealistic, and the depraved; and more importantly…we enjoy books that are crude and make about as much sense as a uni-cycle riding donkey until the last 50 or so pages.
Why? Because we are gluttons for punishment I assume; well, either that or we love to stare at the ceiling and wonder what the hell the author was thinking.
“Jane Was Here” (by the very talented screenwriter Sarah Kernochan) was one of those books that makes you go, “huh?”
When I was little I readily believed in reincarnation. “When I die…I wanna come back as a rich ladies cat!” I used to tell my mom. “All they do is eat and sleep all day. What a wonderful way to live.” As a child this was naivety talking, but as I get older, (or…more “after this book”) I’m not so sure that reincarnation is the answer for me.
Imagine for just a second that you were killed in a most horrific way. Imagine that you did the killing. Imagine that you lost a string of loved ones due to your bad decisions and selfishness. Imagine, just for a second that reincarnation was a proven fact, BUT it came with a few catches, the most important being that you are either to be punished for your “past lives” transgressions, or you are forced to re-live them.
Would you still want to be reincarnated?
Relying on the ability to “write” a small town into a festering pool of “insanity” Kernochan did exactly that; she staged a crime and then she retold it…from several different points of view.
In “Part 1” (yes, this book has been sectioned off into 3 very different, all frustrating parts) we are introduced to the townsfolk of Graynier, MA. Not the “normal” townsfolk mind you, (the ones that are in charge of carpool or bake cookies their husband’s lunch) we are introduced to the waste-a-ways, those that have already sunk themselves into a man-made whole of despair (ala Vodka and booty-calls.)
In “Part 2” we are offered a glimpse into Jane’s (aka…mystery girl’s) identity through a series of very artfully crafted letters to a cult leader. (Ok, Kernochan said religious sect…I say “move over David Koresh we need more room on the crazy train”)
I know, I know…”A whole section with just letters? Ugh!” Trust me when I say that this was a genius way of building a character. Not only are we introduced to who Jane really is, but we get to see how the people around her influenced the path in which her life would eventually take.
And finally, in “Part 3” (the piece de resistance) we get to find out what the hell any of it means. The characters, who before seemed unconnected, (or at the very least useless) come together in what can only be described as an explosive finale, weaving together past lives and current incarnations into a knock down drag out of the “a-moral.”
So what made this story worth reading or leaving? Hum..that’s a toughy…How about I throw you a bone in both categories.
Reading it: The writing “quality” was actually quite good. The characters are well-developed, the identity of the town is well established and the plot (as a whole) is an intriguing one. (Hello…they are dead people come back to wreck havoc!)
Leaving it: Though intriguing, the plot had a few hiccups that needed to be smoothed over. (As in…”What? I don’t get it…Can someone please explain this to me…I know I’m not this dumb”) There were several sections throughout that felt as though I was reading through muddy water, and when it was all said and done…I pretty much wanted to beat the living crap out of every damn character in the book. (Especially Gita!)
So what does this mean as a whole? It means it’s a bit of a toss-up, a very hard to describe toss up. Let me put it to you this way…if you are a fan of authors like Scott Nicholson, or Brian Keene (authors that may or may not be insane themselves.) I’m sure you will be delighted with this book. As for everyone else…leave the “mind F’s” to the professionals and pick a something else.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: The past doesn’t always stay in the past. A kids aren’t always where they say they are.
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