We Begin at the End, an unpopular opinion by Amy

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We Begin at the End
Chris Whitaker
384 pages
Henry Holt and Co.

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Unpopular opinion alert!!!! I’ve seen this book *raved* about in many, many book circles. It took me a while to find a spot (in my lengthy TBR pile) to fit this one in, but I was determined to fit it in. I was so certain it would be worth it. Alas…

Nope. Nope. Nope. I love books about overcoming hardship. I love books that lead you through a struggle to find a lesson that resonates. But this…this is not one of those books. This book is full of trauma and darkness. It’s bleak and grim. And just when you think it’s shifting from misery to hope, and you feel like there has been value in the gloom, it catapults you right back into the abyss. The continual trauma in the book should’ve emoted deep feelings of sadness and buckets of tears. Instead the storyline made me frustrated and angry. There was no quality purpose to the continual suffering in this book.

Sometimes a questionable storyline can be overcome with good writing and adept characterization. However, I didn’t find that to be the case in this book. The writing was choppy and stunted. POV is changed at random intervals, often making the reader question which character is actually narrating. I didn’t find the characters to be deeply complex or relatable, and I wasn’t drawn to them or endeared by them.

The mystery component is slow (very slow) but adequate. The foreshadowing is subtle but effective. And the culmination along with the intertwining of the old mystery and new one is satisfying.

Ultimately, I believe too strongly in the nature of redemption. Of the power of hope. And when a book, THIS BOOK, squashes all hope, it just doesn’t resonate with me.

Sometimes the hype for a book is spot on. Sometimes it completely leads you astray. For this book, I’m completely flabbergasted by the hype.

What about you?  Did you love this book?  Or did it fall short for you as well?

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