Friday, February 9, 2018

Providence by Caroline Kepnes

2.5 Stars

So many thoughts. Please bear with me . . . .

The basics of Providence is that it is about a boy who disappeared and returned four years later . . . different than he was before. It becomes his mission over the years to “fix” himself of this change in order to be with the girl he has always loved. In addition to that story is one that runs parallel about a detective trying to figure out what really caused a series of death by heart attack in various young/healthy people and the wife who is trying her best to keep their marriage intact.

First things first, it goes without saying that I read this wrong. A handful of reviewers received copies before Providence even went on NetGalley and they all creamed their collective jeans over it. Maybe some of my fellow wrong-readers will be joining me in short order, but for now I will occupy the corner of shame all by my lonesome.

I’d like to say my “meh” reaction had nothing to do with The Books of Joe, but that would be bullshit. I mean, if I hadn’t fallen head-over-heels in love with Joe and instead had thought he was uggo and 1-Starred his stories I obviously would not have been running people over in order to obtain an advanced copy of this book. I also wouldn’t have had such high (or perhaps unrealistic) expectations for this book.

I’d love to be able to say that I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by not being a Lovecraft superfan, but that would also be total bullshit. Part of Kepnes’ charm is that she is willing to go balls out with pop culture references and clearly gives not one rip if these contributions will date her books in the future. My knowledge of all things Lenny Feder . . .

Familiarity with a little more than just the basics regarding Jon’s dilemma . . . .

And an obsession with The Boss so extreme as soon as a mere song title was mentioned his voice started singing oh so relevant lyrics in my head . . .

♪♫♪“Sometimes it’s like someone took a knife baby edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley through the middle of my soul . . .” ♪♫♪

Definitely added to my reading experience. But it was because of my brain’s complete worthlessness except when it comes to trivia questions that I felt a glaring hole of stupidity and inability to truly “get it” when it came I Am Providence and all the secrets that may be (are probably) contained within the pages of The Dunwich Horror - a book I have never read.

And worst of all was that I was really into this story at the beginning. I was smitten with little Jon, the outsider, and was enthralled with both his disappearance and reappearance. I was completely ready to fall in love with him as a man and form some freaky polygamist cult with him and Joe (and Eggs) as my brother husbands. The writing (which unfortunately I can’t quote because rules are rules when it comes to ARCs) was BRILLIANT – simply painted onto the page. But then??????

It got so boooooooooooooooooooooring. The knife-blade writing style that defines Kepnes’ voice became dull and nothing happened and there were still like nearly 300 pages left of the book and Chloe was a cardboard cutout of even more nothingness (and maybe she was supposed to be nothing, but she can’t have a voice and occupy so much narration time and be NOTHING FFS) and Eggs who was basically the amalgamation of every Bruce Willis playing the “old man” character you could ever imagine even lost his charm and I was like . . . .

I don’t have the genetic makeup that allows me to “DNF” a book, so I can’t say that thought ever crossed my mind. I will say that this should never have taken me more than one sitting to read if I had liked it as much as Kepnes’ prior two novels and I definitely shouldn’t have found my mind wandering to other selections on my TBR and wondering if I should have read them before this. I have no choice but to be honest. I didn’t love this. I am very appreciative for the opportunity to read an advanced copy, I’m even more appreciative that Kepnes and/or her publisher is so generous and appear to be willing to offer copies to nearly everyone who requests them, I’ll absolutely read the next thing she comes up with, but unfortunately for me Providence missed the mark.

2.5 Stars and I’m rounding up because I can’t in clear conscience round down. I can’t wait to see what my friends think. (As long as they leave their pitchforks and torches at home.)

Advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!

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