Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ghosted by Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall: Review

Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall
Random House Canada
ISBN: 978-0-679-3 1452 3
400 Pages

Publishers Description: Mason, a struggling writer, comes in from the cold after five years of drifting. His childhood friend, Chaz, a small-time gangster, loans him an apartment and finds him a job selling hotdogs. But instead of getting his act together, Mason drinks too much, does too many drugs and loses too much money at poker, digging himself even more deeply in debt to Chaz, who also happens to be his drug dealer. Talk about a vicious circle.

Then Mason has a bright idea. He'll find the cash to pay Chaz back by becoming a ghostwriter of suicide notes, a fitting use of his talents. The trouble is that Mason is hard-wired to rescue people, and no one needs rescuing more than the suicidal. Except maybe the woman he is falling in love with — Willy, a wheelchair-bound, heroin-smoking beauty.

What happens when someone already wrestling with his own demons immerses himself in the tragedies of other people's lives? In this case, a lot: a hotdog cart is totaled, a convict sprung, a funeral faked, a head scalped, a horse stolen. Terrible secrets are brought to the light and suicide morphs into murder. Then, just when it looks like Mason is finally going down, he faces the biggest test of all. He'll either become the death-defying hero of his own dreams or lose everything and everybody he's ever loved.

Review: Well kiddies, this is going to be a hard one to review, because well, quite frankly I just didn't like the story. Now I want you all to know, it has nothing to do with his ability as a writer, because he definitely has talent.  It's just that I don't like books that deal with some of the more unpleasant people in this world, and quite frankly there are things I can live without knowing.

To illustrate the above point, here is a passage from the novel. I can't even type the beginning of the passage because it is just too graphic and horrific.

Then I said, "If you don't, I will break this bottle inside you.  It took a while but eventually she said "My name is Becky, and I will be 8 next week".  "That means you are seven" I said, and filled her mouth with her underwear. It had blue ducks and blood on it"

Seriously, no one needs tor read something like that. I know there are damaged people like this out there who really should be shot down like the rabid dogs they are (no Jen, tell us what you really feel) but we don't need to have a description of what they do when they rape a child. Honestly, after reading the passage, I had to put the book down for a couple of days, because I was seriously disgusted. 

The characters are very realistic and the storyline very unusual and at times I was very impressed with the author's creativity. Sometimes the dialogue was laugh your ass off funny.

"He flipped open the tape deck. "Gowan? So if you got trapped in here you'd have to listen to Gowan for the rest of your life?"

Other times the storyline was hopeful and you felt yourself cheering the protagonist on but than the hope was sort of dashed on you.  I really enjoyed a couple of the characters and just found them to be interesting and realistic, Chaz (A sort of nice drug dealer) and Dr Francis (incredibly realistic troubled Dr). Even the main character of Mason, a down and out sort of guy, was sort of likable. I just got pissed at him, because he was constantly doing really stupid things, when he knew better. Bishop-Stall really excels at the development of his characters which really bring them to life.  Also his description of a shelter are so painstakingly real that you can tell that the author has definitely spent time in one.  The last couple chapters are just brilliantly written and made me feel better about forcing myself to read the damn book.

Please, if you like a dark and gritty tale, that has a Palahniuk flavour to it, go out and get a copy, because the author is seriously talented.  At times I did enjoy reading it, but those times were few and far between.

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