Friday, March 7, 2014

No Book but the World by Leah Hager Cohen

No Book but the World by Leah Hager Cohen. 
ISBN 1594486034
Publishing date: April 3, 2014, Riverhead

In a similar fashion as participating in Kindle first, I am also a reader for a program by Penguin Publishing that allows readers to enter drawings to be one of the first to read/review a new book before it's final publication. This is the first instance in which I have had this opportunity and I am very excited ti share with you what I though. I really hope to have many more opportunities in the future. This is pretty much my favorite thing. Brand new books! I found out on our honeymoon that I had won the drawing for this, and I could barely contain my excitement. It's probably a good thing that I didn't hide my extreme nerd habits from Nick at any point. It might have ended up being a deal breaker. : ) I know it wouldn't have, but that doesn't take away from the fact that I have a problem. Anyway. So I got this book, and I won't lie, I didn't read the instructions to download it. I also didn't pay attention to the fact that it is a PDF and I probably could have directly moved it to my kindle. Either way, I somehow messed up the formatting and wasn't able to read it on my Kindle. Needless to say, that staring at a screen for work all day and then coming home and staring at the computer screen for enjoyment do not make for an easy time on my eyes.

I'm not really in the habit of reading about the book before actually reading the book, and so I went into this completely blind. Maybe if I had been prepared to read a story with a very strong philosophical undertone I would have been greater able to follow from the beginning. The story revolves around two siblings who have been raised with complete freedom by parents Neel and June who had previously run a "free" school in which students followed no actual structure. Fred who is the youngest seems to be troubled from the start. He is slow to do anything and every thing that is expected of him. Ava is an intelligent introvert who protects her brother like he is an extension of herself. As the story progresses the reader finds out that adult Fred is accused of doing something terrible. When Ava finds out she runs to try and rescue him like she has done on so many occasions before. The plot itself discusses the main subjects of sibling relationships, how strong these relationships can be despite time and distance, and how parental control or lack thereof can make or create a person.

The least I can say is the book was strange. The subject matter wasn't strange insomuch as the language and arrangements themselves were strange. I'll tell you that at the start I was a little anxious as to knowing what some of the words even meant that Cohen used. There seemed real intent to use the largest or most complex words possible to state even the most inane things. The dictionary came out a few times to help me through. Not to sound egotistical, but if I have trouble with words like that, then the general public will probably have a deal more trouble. Contextually the words more often than not explain themselves, but it feels pointless and a bit over done. I think the part that I liked the least came all the way at the end of the book. The final section called "The Thing Itself" sees almost as if it is an apology for the entire book. It was completely unnecessary and completely ruined whatever suspension of disbelief I had created for myself. Writing an entire novel and then essentially recanting it at the end is kind of crazy. Even if it is still completely done in character it just didn't work for me. Dumbfounded is a really great word for the feeling finishing the book left me with.

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