Saturday, January 2, 2016

Audrey Rose

Audrey Rose
by Frank De Felitta

Suppose a stranger told you your daughter was his daughter in another life? Suppose you began to believe him? Suppose it was true?

My Reaction (possibly SPOILERish):
I think perhaps my opinion of Audrey Rose suffers because it wasn't at all what I was expecting.  I knew it involved reincarnation, of course, but very little beyond that.  I was under the impression that this was primarily a work of horror, but I find that it doesn't fit into that genre very well.

...Unfortunately, I found much of the book boring-- plodding, in fact.  There are "page-turner" sections, but in between, it's so dull that I had to convince myself to keep reading.

My chief complaints?
--Too repetitive.
By the time we get to the courtroom transcript, we've heard most of this stuff so many times that the reader could easily testify in Janice's place.  I certainly felt that I was familiar with the facts!  Even Ivy's excruciating nightmare is repeated so many times that it loses most of its power to horrify.

--Too much meaningless detail.
Maybe this is just me, but the insistence on telling us about every single meal-- exact times that this or that happens-- and street names/numbers grated on my nerves.  For one thing, I don't have the street-map of NYC committed to memory, so that info means exactly nothing to me.  For another, does it really make one shred of difference to the story?

--Too drawn out.
Some paring down would help.  I guess I shouldn't complain that the book rises above pulp fiction, what with the inclusion of interesting secondary/tertiary characters (the lawyers, the judge, the expert witnesses) and the slight forays into the philosophical and spiritual-- but sadly, I often didn't enjoy the reading experience...

A tauter editing could have made the pages fly.  Of course, not every book has to be a page-turner, and some of my personal favorites are relatively slow-burning.  I think this simply wasn't meant to be one of my favorites.  The core concept is interesting enough, but the ending is not exactly unpredictable, and the slowness of much of the book didn't do it any favors.  I won't ever want to re-read it, and I would be unlikely to recommend it except to those who love both the paranormal and legal thrillers-- with a dash of suspense and comparative religion thrown in.