Hi y’all. How goes it? Let’s take a look at today’s selection for What NOT to Read. I’m just jumping right on in for this one.
Eugene, Oregon. October, 1999. After three graves robberies–in each instance, the abducted corpse was a John Doe–the police have few leads and little interest in the case. Caya Blumenshine, a reporter for the local newspaper, canvasses Eugene, questioning anarchists, wyccans, and politicians, until her search hits upon a secluded house on the outskirts of the city. Its owner, Alexander Hilyard, a history-writing hermit who hasn’t been seen in years, may be involved in the grave robberies, or may have been the most recent victim.
Fort Vancouver, the 1830’s. A trading outpost on the Columbia river is charged with harvesting as many furs as possible for the Hudson Bay Company, while at the same time discouraging American pioneers from settling in the region. Dr. McLoughlin, the chief factor, and his three adopted sons find the undertaking challenged by the arrival of Jason Lee and his Methodist missionaries, who seem more interested in establishing a new territorial government than converting natives.
Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1846. After the murder of her father, Helen Hunsaker wants nothing more than to escape the strictures of a society that views women as second-class citizens. She sets out on the Oregon Trail hoping to find a measure of freedom not afforded to her by her family circumstances or gender. Unfortunately, a spurned suitor chases after her and will apparently stop at nothing to win her hand in marriage.
Three stories that span more than 150 years of American history, united by a shocking mystery. How far will those responsible go to keep their secrets buried?
What is “Quitting the Grave”, you might ask?
Let me think. What’s the best way to describe it…? “Quitting the Grave” is a massive book with way too much information to make it even remotely able to follow.
HOWEVER, that doesn’t do much in telling you what the story is about, so let me get that out of the way first.
Bare with me, this might be a bit lengthy.
So, there is this lady named Caya Blumenshine who is a reporter for the local newspaper. Caya vividly paints a picture of her town, Eugene, Oregon as she questions anarchists, wyccans, and politicians, until such time as her research comes across a secluded house on the outskirts of the city. Said house is owned by an Alexander Hilyard who hasn’t been seen in years and has been suspected of being involved in some grave robberies.
Somehow the story reverts back to two different times and occasions; Fort Vancouver in the 1830’s and Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1846. In “Quitting the Grave” you will find the magical powers of Native American influences along side British Culture, all interweaved as part of the historical facet of the tale.
Threading together three story-lines in the form of unearthing secrets, historical facts and suspicious occurrences, Caya finds out more than she could have expected.
That about covers it.
Now, on to my thoughts. Usually I do them in the form of Pros and Cons, but I think I’ll do this a little differently today.
When is too much, too much?
When, somewhere along the middle of a chapter, you have to go back and read it again–even though there are still about 45 minutes left to read in said chapter–just to refresh your memory about what’s going on.
When, you opt to start taking notes, because the vast degree of information that is given is akin to a Social Studies/History Text Book and you begin to fell like if you don’t take notes you’re going to fail the Pop Quiz.
When, just the thought of opening the book makes you fret because somewhere along the middle point of the story you have forgotten what the story is even about and you REALLY don’t feel like having to start over again.
When, the main character’s name is lost in the shuffle somewhere because the author is too busy giving every single tid-bit of unwanted information of the whos, whats, hows and whens, that you’ve forgotten her name.
I kept thinking to myself, “WHEN is it gonna end?”
I think I need to rewind just for a second.
When I was first presented with the book as an assignment, I was excited. The premise seemed alluring enough. I DO LOVE history, after all. The book trailer was the bomb! Suffice it to say that I was all in. All year, I waited with eagerness to open this book up. The size was of little consequence, for I was sure that with a blurb and trailer such as it had, this book was going to be worth the read. I was ready for it.
Then … I opened it.
What’s the problem, Y?
Well, call me old school … it’s okay. I’m used to it.
But, I am.
I could not deal with dashes being used instead of quotation marks. It confused the heck outta me. The worst part of it was that fact that I was mentally editing those dashes to quotation marks as I went along. And then, on parts that needed EM Dashes, which were replaces by various other punctuations, I was editing that too. Suffice it to say, NO FUN, Caballero.
Sorry for the sarcasm, I can’t help it. I HAVE to roll my eyes at the “mystery” aspect of the story. WHY? Well, because I was too busy trying to keep up with all of the other hoopla, that I scarcely had opportunity to bask in the so-called mystery part.
But, it is more than that.
Imagine you are reading a mystery story and in said book you are presented with an EXPLANATION FOR EVERYTHING and ABOUT EVERYTHING does that rightfully constitute the book as mystery? No, of course not. Just something to think about it.
So, let’s weigh the good and the bad.
Syntax was good, other than those pesky dashes. What good is good writing when the story is boring?
The main character wasn’t very likeable. As a matter of fact, she came off very uninterested and detached to the point of being blasé.
The descriptive bits were nice, until they got to the point of excess, making me tired of even thinking about the places.
The historical elements and narrative was highly accurate and informative, BUT why did I feel like I was back in High School instead of reading something for entertainment’s sake?
When you find yourself pleading to all of the gods for a story to just be over already, there is a problem. That’s all I’m saying.
Let me sum this up.
While the writing was good, the research was obviously well executed and the historical element very present, there were three very being faults with this book that I could just not overlook.
It was just too long for no good reason.
Those daggon dashes had me all mixed up because it made the story seem more like a screenplay than an actual story.
I COULD NOT get past the boredom.
With that said, I bit “Quitting the Grave” a 2 Stars. I’m sorry, it just wasn’t for me.