Universal Book Link

Available at Amazon (KU), though the book is offered at Kobo, Mondadori, and Angus & Fergus for free.
The author may be planning to have Amazon price-match to these other sources.

Finding Claire*

Potentially Good Story Ruined by Bad Grammar and Punctuation

The book opens at Claire’s funeral. Soon, her son is given a box of diaries and other things of his mother’s that will help explain some questions the son has about her, his father states. The bulk of the book, except for a little at the beginning and the end, relates Claire’s later teenage life.

I had a problem with this book on a variety of levels. First, I didn’t really see the need to bracket Claire’s story with the modern context of having it seen through her son’s eyes after her death; this added nothing to the story as not much was done in either of the small modern-day portions. The end, especially, could have been so much more (and have been the reason for the modern parts) if he had some interaction with the young man mentioned in the diaries who was so pivotal in his mother’s early life. That would have made this modern-day bracketing make sense. But as that did not happen, it seems rather pointless.

Another odd thing I found about the book was that even though the son is supposedly reading these papers and diaries, the story itself is related as any regular story would be, with a fair amount of dialogue. I don’t know about you, but when I write in a diary or a journal, I don’t write dialogue! So, unless the son has an excellent and spot-on imagination, this isn’t actually a good representation of what supposedly happened with his mother.

The most significant issue I had, though, was that the book was poorly written from a grammar, punctuation, and usage standpoint. So much so that I was utterly distracted from reading the story. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such terribly inconsistent and non-edited work in publication. I did receive an ARC of this book, so I double checked the Amazon preview to see if the final book had been edited before I wrote this portion of the review. The preview seems to be no different from the version that I read. The author appears to be British, but most of the rules of grammar and punctuation are the same between these two variants of English. She seemed to have no understanding whatsoever of how to punctuate dialogue, and there was a lot of conversation in this book. Capitalization is wrong, commas are wrong, and other random punctuation is thrown in around dialogue. Both in dialogue and narrative sections, sometimes ending punctuation is left out. Word choice was occasionally wrong, like bare vs. bear. It seemed hardly a paragraph went by without an error, making it so I could barely concentrate on the story.

The story itself about the coming of age of a young girl had its merits, but these were overshadowed by the structural problems of the book as well as the grammar, punctuation, and usage issues.