(Author: James Hannah) + (Year: 2016) + (Goodreads)
I got contacted by the publishers to pick one of their newest books to review. Initially this was my pick. Because the blurb:
He has all kinds of everyday joy in his life — he’s young, he’s in love, he has friends who promise to stand by him if life ever goes wrong.
Then one day, life does go wrong.
This is a story about how far love must stretch to gather a life in pieces — and about how a strong friendship never dies.
Then, I also saw the great and positive reviews. Enough good adjectives were thrown in to make me believe this is a pretty cool, funny, interesting, yet somehow bittersweet book about redemption.
DID WE EVEN READ THE SAME BOOK???
What in the world? This book is anything but cool, it is utterly depressing. Anything but funny, it is dreary. Anything but interesting, it attempts to prompt you to kill yourself. On several occasions. Literally. I mean like literally. Suicide is not out of the question if you have problems. It is not a book about redemption!!?! It is a book about a failed life which fails to the end. FRIENDSHIP? Where the heck did you see friendship? A STRONG, NEVER-ENDING friendship, at that.
I think I got a different book.
What I actually read was a book about a junkie who screwed up his life through and through, time and again. He caused everything in this book all by himself. I really doubt he would have changed if he was simply not stranded to a bed. I am fully convinced he would have been as self-destructive as ever. And that he was. A guy who does drugs because he is bored from sitting at home waiting for his working girlfriend. A person who has diabetes and yet does not see it as wrong to do all the wrong things because he is lazy and forgets that he has to take care of himself. A person with no aims, no goals, no values. Despite the entire love arc in the book, I am not fully convinced he really loved his girlfriend either. He ignored all chances of making it right with her, doing just whatever he wanted.
There was no aim behind this book at all. It was not creative, it was dull and made me consider euthanizing myself.
All of the characters were equally as horrible as Ivo, aside from Sheila and Mia. Ivo’s gross sister, the slutty one, Becky or Becca or whatever, the atrocious low-life drug dealer Mal, the spineless Kelvin. Oh my God, a total shit-fest of characters.
I might be overly harsh but I am really fed up with authors using disease, mass killings, domestic violence and other important social topics as a way of making you feel sorry for the characters and building the entire otherwise sloppy and pointless plot, counting that you will be touched by the entire “Oh, but he is dying, pity him” routine. Emotional manipulation does not make a book better, if anything, it makes it worse once a person sees through the bad… everything in the book.
So, no, I will not like The A to Z of You and Me, which has zero plot, -40 character development, two mildly likable characters and an entire list of people who deserve a solid slap, NO friendship, I repeat, NONE, no redemption by anyone(I dare you to say that Mal redeemed himself, taking into an account how he wanted to clear his conscience and all that), nothing, nothing, but tearjerker moments that I could not muster patience or interest for. If this was not a short read, I think I would have given up. Even the writing fails short stylistically. It is a poor attempt at poetic, meaningful inner dialogues, with lots of single world lines and wanna-be artsy expressions.
I got A Robot In the Garden absolutely accidentally while trying to download this book, and oh my God, I’m so glad I did. They can’t even compare.