Monday, 26 August 2013

Book Review : Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King

Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

I have been watching a lot of Book Hauls on YouTube lately. And as per usual, I've been reading a lot of blogs about books. And this book has been talked about a lot. And after Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher I thought this would be a good book to read. I have been searching for this book online for a long time. Why not at a bookstore you ask? Here in India Brick and mortar bookstores usually do not stock most of these books. It's usually difficult to get them online too.

That was the case with this book too. Just recently the price was a bit reduced and as it was in my wishlist my Best Friend Chaitra got me this book. So even though I was reading Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden (Which is great by the way) I just HAD to start reading this book. And it's got pretty small chapters so I completed it pretty fast.One of the reasons I got through this book so fast is because I read the book while I commuted to and from work. Considering Bangalore traffic, especially during the rainy season, I had ample time to finish the book.

There might be SPOILERS ahead. Read at your own risk.

Let me get the negative aside first. The beginning was a little slow for me. I mean I knew that Charlie, Vera's Ex-Best Friend had died and that the "Ex-" had been added to Best friend very recently. That was all I knew. Though the reason for the death was alluded to very vaguely it was never explained. But It started picking up about 40-50 pages in. The reason for their estrangement and how/why Charlie died was still not explained but a lot of things were talked about that drew me into the story.

The narrative style of the story was, I will not say unique, but different. And it works. It is mostly in Vera's Point of View but a couple of pages in the middle of her Point of View we get to hear a few things in Vera's father's perspective (Ken), Charlie's perspective and even a landmarks perspective, the Pagoda (a make-out spot) on what happens around it. And the narrative was interspersed with flashbacks to Vera and Charlie's childhood and assorted timelines. This was almost always Vera's point of view.

The things I loved about this book were many. I didn't really have a Best Friend till I was out of school. I finally met a group of people whom I got really close to while I was pursuing my Bachelors degree. That was one of the best times I had in life. And though it did not happen to me (Thank God!) I did see really close friends drift apart (putting it mildly) because of rumors and miscommunication and out and out lying that were floating around. So I understood what Vera went through when Charlie turned his back on her (at least to a certain point).

I get what Vera means by trying to escape her destiny.Of becoming her mother. And I also like that by the end it is she who tries to convince her dad that she is not like her mother at all. I liked the dichotomy of Vera moving away from the life that her mother, or rather her parents had and Charlie moving towards the life that his parents have. And part of the reason he became a bit like his dad was because he was trying to protect Vera from himself.

I liked the way the issue of Vera's drinking was addressed too. And I do not want to ruin the book for anyone so I'll just say this. I thought this book was a contemporary novel but there was another element added to it. Some might say it was because of Vera's drinking, but if you read the book and see the perspective it's written in you'll see that it isn't just a contemporary novel. It is harder to define.

The longer I've had to read this book the more I seem to love it. I would rate this book a 4.5/5. And now I am awaiting The Dust of a 100 dogs by A.S. King. I know that Everybody Sees the Ants would be the next logical book to read but I really loved the premise of this book. So I am now waiting to get that book inthe mail.

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