Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
|Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: A huge disappointment, with dreadful writing and awful characters. It's hard to believe this was written by the same person who wrote the exquisite How I Live Now.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? No|
|Pages: 208||Date: September 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
Longlisted for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal
Mila is able to find things out about people, places and situations. When a family friend disappears, she ends up trying to find him.
I reviewed a book a few weeks ago - I can't even think what it was - and mentioned that I was writing the review immediately after finishing, as I wasn't convinced I'd remember it by the time I woke up the next morning. Well, Picture Me Gone makes that book look positively memorable - I stopped reading this two thirds of the way through, not intentionally, but simply through forgetting all about it. It had made such little impact on me that when I found it in the middle of a pile of books, I wasn't sure whether to reread the first two thirds to remind myself what had happened - but decided I couldn't put myself through it again. If it was nearly any other author, I think I'd have decided it was time to give up, but since it was Rosoff I thought it had to be worth persevering with.
I don't know where to begin to start here, to be honest. Do I talk about the leaden writing style, the dreadful characters, or the dire plot? Mila is a spectacularly dull narrator, while her relationships with everyone around her are jarring and unconvincing - possibly because most of the people in the novel are so unbelievable that it would be nearly impossible to form any believable relationship with them. As for the plot, it's billed as a coming-of-age story but doesn't seem to feature anywhere near as much character development as you'd expect, and the solution to the mystery of the disappearance is simply bizarre.
It's probably not quite the worst I've read this year - although it's close - but it's undoubtedly the most disappointing. Even the lack of speech marks, which seemed to fit Daisy's breathless narration in How I Live Now so perfectly, just seems affected and irritating here.
On the plus side, reading this one did encourage me to dig out How I Live Now for the first time in a couple of years, and I'm currently really enjoying rereading that one. If you're a fan of Rosoff's, I'd suggest it's a better way to spend your time than picking up this one. We liked There Is No Dog by Meg Rosoff and Moose Baby by Meg Rosoff a little better.
My favourite coming of age story of the year so far is the wonderful Twerp by Mark Goldblatt.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff at Amazon.com.
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