Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Passionate and Disappointing Read: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Overall Rating: 1 star
Addiction Level:  I forced myself to finish.
Believe-ability:  My childhood imaginary world was more real.
Dystopia Factor:  The world has been turned upside down and all hope is lost. 


            I loved the concept of this book.  I wanted to read about a girl who could not touch others, whose touch could kill others, and I did.  However, it was not what I expected. 
            Firstly I must admit that I am addicted to reading stories about kick-ass heroines.  (Katniss and Tris rule!)  Mafi did a good job of showing how Juliette was brow-beaten and isolated for her curse/gift.  She was ostracized by society and disowned by her family.  The story starts off with Juliette imprisoned for eight to nine months; she has lost all hope.  The setting was clearly established.  I was hoping as the book progressed that Juliette would gain self-confidence.  Instead I found her whiny and annoying.  I continued to have hope that she would change in book two as the first two chapters were included in my copy.  Wrong!  Instead she perpetuated a negative self-image of herself.  This time the judgment was all a result of her own isolation.
            As romance is typical of the YA genre, I do not mind a little romance.  However, it has to be believable.  In The Hunger Games Katniss and Peeta knew each other from childhood.  Maybe they even liked one another.  Maybe in a different time they would have eventually started a romance.  However, circumstances threw them together.  In the end their relationship and love for one another was believable.  *SPOILER ALERT*  In Shatter Me Juliette and Adam have also known each other from childhood and never talked.  It is unfathomable to me that Adam would go on a crusade to find Juliette after she has been taken away after she killed a child.  However, there is still good in this world, so it is feasible.  What is not feasible is their immediate love for one another and their proclamations that they have loved each other forever.  
            Lastly the thing that made this book difficult to read was the format it was written in.  I understand authors have artistic license.  I get it, and I do that in my poetry.  However, as an English major and English teacher, I believe in the importance of complete sentences.  Mafi used punctuation lightly.  To express Juliette’s anxiety she would repeat phrases or words in a sentence.  To show Juliette’s conflict she crossed out thoughts.  It is a useful tactic, but it was used too often.  As an artist I appreciate figurative language.  Mafi went overboard, and the comparisons were odd.  Juliette described Adam’s lips as two soft pillows.  That does not show desire, and she desired him.  Lastly Mafi does not follow the numbers rule.  Never start a sentence with a number in number format, and spell out one – nine.  Ah!
            Mafi can write.  While she may want fans to love Juliette and Adam, I hated them.  As I was reading I was very frustrated with this book.  In fact I dragged my family into the story.  On the other hand I liked James and Kenji.  She successfully captured their characters in very few words.  I wanted to see more of them.  I even enjoyed the short snippet of Warner’s log.  Had it only been $.99 I would have purchased it.

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