Monday, May 21, 2012

Bookmarks -- If These Trees Could Talk

If These Trees Could Talk, by Brian W. Smith, is about two boys who are sexually abused and plot together to kill the men who are molesting them. In addition to the victims and the perpetrators, we meet the mother of one of the boys and the teacher who knows something is wrong, but doesn't have the evidence to prove it. Sounds like an engaging story.

And for the most part, it is. If These Trees Could Talk is very interesting, though not really groundbreaking. It doesn't have to be unique to be a good book. Readers will be very interested in the characters and will want to know what happens next. But sadly, this is not as strong a novel as it could have been.

While overall, the story reads fine, it contains too much prose which, for lack of a better word, needs revision. There is needless repetition, sentences that lack life or punch, and lazy description where the author opts to refer to television shows rather than really describe. Those problems are not on every page, but appear frequently enough to put me off. There are also a few moments where the narrator inserts information or sermonizes, pulling the reader right out of the story instead of adding to it.

As I said, the novel is readable and interesting for the most part, and I think that most who finish it will find the twist at the end something to think about. (I'm not sure I care for it, but am willing to admit that my feelings may be a matter of my personal tastes rather than a flaw in the story itself.) Smith is at least trying to tell an important tale here, and he gives us perspectives that we might easily dismiss.

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