Posted by: Ele Quigan | June 24, 2010

‘Icy Sparks’ Gwyn Hyman Rubio

Oprah’s book club has always intrigued me. Given the influence that Oprah has, putting her stamp on a book must be huge for a novelist (or at least it guarantees sales).

I’ve found a few authors I have enjoyed by keeping an eye out for the big O seal of ‘O-pproval’ on novels, Joyce Carol Oates and Barbara Kingsolver to name but two. But this novel – was a random pick up from Amazon, with essentially the only sell being ‘oh it’s part of that bookclub.

So what did I think?

Maybe it was a bit of post-holiday blues, maybe it was a bit of ‘I’ve just really a few really depressing books on the trot – do I really feel like another heavy going novel’ – but I didn’t really enjoy his novel at all.

In a nutshell, young girl develops tourette’s syndrome before it was a real known condition. Is ostracized, lives in an institution for a while. Comes out – finds religion and suddenly by the end, all is happy ever after.

I just didn’t get it. It didn’t seem like a book with an agenda? Why the sudden religious spout? It seemed so irrelevant and unnecessary. I skimmed most of the religious bits (they were so over the top) and as she meets jesus during a revival session it took the book far beyond what could ever be construed as reality, into parody.

From scanning through the Amazon reviews (which I don’t usually read before purchasing as they often contain plot spoilers – just like my religion comments above) it looks like this is Gwyn’s first novel. Maybe it was the publishers who took out the realistic ending and decided it had to end happily? Maybe there was more religion in the overall novel that just got pulled out?

I’m not sure but this definitely wasn’t a book that I could say I enjoyed – and to be honest, probably wouldn’t read again.

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