Friday, May 16, 2014

Gentlehands by M.E. Kerr

"Buddy Boyle lives year-round with his family in unfashionable Seaville, New York, in a cramped little house on the bay. Skye Pennington spends the summers nearby on lavish estate complete with ocean view and a butler named Peacock.But Skye and Buddy fall in love anyway. And every once in a while they visit Buddy's estranged grandfather, who makes them forget they're from opposite sides of town. Then a reporter appears, searching for a man known as Gentlehands, a man with a horrifying past. Who is Gentlehands? And what is his connection to Buddy's handsome, aristocratic grandfather? The mystery threatens to shatter Buddy and Skye's relationship, and change their lives forever."

Well... so... eh. This was assigned reading for a class, and I hate to admit, I doubt I would have finished it if I'd picked it up on my own. I doubt I'd have gotten past page fifteen. It just wasn't, for all its purported literary merits, enjoyable to read. I really don't think there were any sympathetic characters. And this might be a realistic track to take, but it doesn't make for much investment on the behalf of the characters. Buddy is infatuated with Skye and her glittering lifestyle and routinely drops everything to run to her when she has a whim. He ignores his little brother and generally acts awful and dismissive to his family. If anything, his grandfather the former Nazi (sorry to spoil the big plot twist, but you can easily figure it out from the blurb and the first fifteen pages) was the most likable character. And yes, the point of the book was essentially the thematic elements--the questions of human nature and loyalty and things like that, with an ambiguous ending--but I think the execution thereof wasn't done well or interestingly at all. I didn't care for it. I feel like it dragged out the vapid romance too long and left things maddeningly unresolved. Yes, there are a million ways you could analyze the book, but there wasn't much that made me want to keep reading. I'd give maybe three stars. There are copies at Mt. Edgecumbe, Blatchley, and Sitka High if you want to decide for yourself.

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