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Bibliophilic Monologues

Shatter Me

Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi Let me preface this by saying that the following is a partial review. I'm writing this for the parts I have read and I'm also writing this because Rida is waiting for my thoughts on it. I will be very honest in the following paragraphs and it is not my intent to hurt anyone's feelings or anything of that nature. I also want the world to know that I think Tahereh Mafi (what I have gleaned from her online presence) is an awesome person and I wish her all the very best in her future projects.With that said, let's get to the point. I did not like Shatter Me. I didn't like it so much I couldn't finish it. And I bought the book, mind you, sacrificing at least one meal so I could hold it in my hands and be creepy like Gollum with the ring. I know that everyone seems to be besides themselves at the "gorgeous prose" and "strong characters" in the novel and I feel like we're either reading different books or I am on crack or something because seriously? This is only the third book this year that I have had this reaction to and since I've read about 402 books so it's a rare occurrence. The biggest obstacle I came across in my attempt to read this book was the writing. Yes, the same writing that hundreds are lauding. Okay, to frame my reaction, let me tell you that I write and I have had enough success as a writer that I am confident of my judgements (and my taste) and ability to speak with some authority where the writing is concerned. Mafi's prose is so full of jarring (and contradictory) images that it's difficult to finish a page without stopping at least once with your thoughts reflecting some intensity of "wtf" feeling that often fills a person at points of bewilderment and astonishment. One metaphor per sentence is excessive but if you choke that sentence with three or four metaphors...yeah, not cool. Especially if those metaphors are contradictory. On one page she is damning the sun, on the other, she is claiming it to be awesome and then on yet another there's another metaphor attached to the sun that makes for a fractured narrative that is the opposite of being compelling. (I would quote and cite but I don't feel like going through the pain again.)I come from the school of thought that in writing, when you want to make something have more of an effect, you use subtlety. You lead your horse to the river and then leave him alone to figure out where and how to drink. Ya know? Mafi may have written gems, pieces that are compelling but honestly, they are all so buried with fragments that seem to be quivering with melodrama and pathos, that seem contrived that it was all I could do to read as far as I did. It's like reading a book written completely in purple prose. Exhausting and not very enchanting.Let's talk about the characters. I don't know why Juliette is found to be "strong" because I found her irritating. And sniveling. I get that your life is horrible but please, woman, get off your high horse and stop being so freaking virtuous. I mean, COME ON, people treat you like shit and you want me to believe that you don't even have the littlest bitterness? You are a victim and you are determined to cling to that role and even your "strengths" make you weep because you don't want to be odd. It reads as unreal and not a little Mary-Sue-ish that this supremely beautiful child, (Oh yes, she's so beautiful, her physical beauty comes close to defining her, Warner makes several references to her, so does Adam, so do other boys, why can't she be just normal? Not beautiful, is it necessary for her to be so gorgeous?) who has been treated so horribly (even by her own parents) but she harbors not the littlest wish for vengeance. Yeah. I'm not saying I want to see her turn evil, I just want her to be more realistic. I could barely discern any of her personality with all her pontificating and 1, 2, 3, counting. Let's talk about Adam. Where do I start? Let's see. He's beautiful. And Juliette has loved him forever. I'm not lying. She says that herself. He's her only friend, it's the love that shakes the earth and well yeah, so what? Adam has no personality of his own. He only exists in context to Juliette and wouldn't it be cool if he were a figment of her imagination?And at the end, when she jolts awake, she's still in that stinking cell? No, he's real. They're making out and feeling feelings that make no difference to me because I have no connection to either of them.Warner is supposed to be this powerful dude but when I gave up on the book, he had been easily conquered by the awesome Adam and was saying stuff like "you're making the greatest mistake of your life..." where have you heard that before? It reminds me of this awesome villain in Bollywood movies and the hero going "Main tumhe chorunga nahi!!! Kamine!" (I won't let you go! Bastard!) Hurhur. Yeah, from purple prose to tired, cliched dialogue.So there you have it. My partial review. One that probably screams my dissatisfaction with the entire novel. I couldn't finish it because I found the plot lacking, the characters not characterized and the writing painful. You might like it better because looking at the reviews, I seem to be one of the very few who feels this way. Now that you know my mind, make up yours. Oh and some excerpts thanks to another reviewer: “Summer is like a slow-cooker bringing everything in the world to a boil one degree at a time. It promises a million happy adjectives only to pour stench and sewage into your nose for dinner.”“Hate looks just like everybody else until it smiles. Until it spins around and lies with lips and teeth carved into the semblance of something too passive to punch.”“His eyes are tight, his forehead pinched, his lips his lips his lips are two pieces of frustration forged together.”“My heart is a water balloon exploding in my chest. My lungs are swinging from my ribcage.”“I hate the lackadaisical ennui of a sun too preoccupied with itself to notice the infinite hours we spend in its presence.”