by Fleur Gaskin
Everything in Arabelle’s life is coming together. She has confidence, great friends, she’s even dating Naak, a wealthy Thai socialite. But there are too many models in Bangkok. Arabelle’s broke, she can’t find an agent in New York, and Naak isn’t as wonderful as he first appears. Slowly the Shadows creep back into Arabelle’s mind, bringing with them thoughts of hopelessness and despair. The vile Shadows know something Arabelle’s refusing to remember and, if she’s not careful, they’ll use it to destroy her. Based on a true story, Arabelle’s Shadows takes us on a journey through the struggles of growing up, not quite making it as an international model, and attempting to overcome a crushing depression.
The lovely author of this interesting piece requested I review it a while back and now I have read it, thought about it and am now finally posting a review about it. So thank you Fleur, for the request.
Upon reading the synopsis the first thought to pop into my mind was, “This is so, so, so, very not what I usually read. This should be quite the adventure.” And well I was right. It was out of my usual reading spectrum and comfort zone and it was quite the adventure. While I am glad to have read it and taken that step into the adventurous and cold, unknown world outside my cozy genres and reading comfort zone. I did not like this book and I am quite sure that I will not be venturing out into this sector of genre outside of my comfort zone. I mean no offence to the readers and writers and lovers of such genre but I only wish to establish that I do not find enjoyment in such books and that is just the way I am.
The very first thing that struck me when I began reading this book was the fact that while it was written in journal form I was not forming any sort of attachment or connection with the character or characters as I usually do. I had started out hoping that maybe as I read on I would but I quickly gave up all hope in that area as I never did. I felt that the journal perspective should make readers connect on a deep and emotional level with the character but, this wasn’t happening with me and that deeply irritated me.
Another strange thing about me personally, one of my biggest pet peeves is self-pity and wallowing. I am one of those annoyingly rational people that will listen to you and feel sympathy and offer advice when you come crying to me about your unfortunate situations and problems but eventually I reach a point where I want to just turn to you and say, “suck it up butter cup! We all have issues! Dwelling, wallowing and feeling sorry for yourself is not helping!” So naturally I felt no love for Arabelle, who is depressed and with the plot line of the book, spends nearly every precious word of the story complaining, feeling depressed, and sorry for herself. This might have also been a factor in my not feeling attached to her, other characters, or the story. I read something in a book about writing called The Fire in Fiction, where the author gives advice on writing and building characters that have lots of “baggage” or issues such as Arabelle. The author, Donald Maass, tells his readers that they need to make sure that their character, laden with such a large burden or large number of burdens such as Arabelle, has some characteristic or that the story itself supplies the reader with something that makes them want to support the character. Some reason for the readers to want them to overcome their obstacles. Arabelle had no such characteristic and the story supplied no such thing so I was left board, distanced and annoyed.
On to character development, now this I had great hopes for because the situation and story-line gave so much potential for truly fantastic character development. However, I was disappointed to find that it was not fantastic. It happened so slowly you barely noticed it was happening and then BOOM! All of the sudden at the end she was like a whole new person and suddenly she was just growing and developing out of nowhere! Like a miracle from God above! You could suddenly see her developing and growing by leaps and bounds with every word! The unevenness and just the bad way the character development was handled also greatly irritated me.
I did not like this book. However, I do believe that there is a certain pool of people that would and do enjoy this group. I am simply not part of that pool. I give this book one star.