Book Review: I Was Here by Rachel Kadish

I Was Here by Rachel Kadish
I Was Here by Rachel Kadish

Title: I Was Here

Author: Rachel Kadish

Genre: Family Drama, Thriller, Literary Fiction

Publisher: Rooster

Published: March 1, 2014

Page Amount: 150 pages 

Blurb From Goodreads:In a working-class town, the abuse of a young girl is hushed up by a community more interested in civility than justice. Twenty years later, a series of obscene texts revives that old injustice and ten seemingly unconnected lives are pulled into an intricate and dangerous swerve toward tragedy.

This heart-stopping tale unfolds at the pace of a thriller, but its exquisite tension is generated by the precision of its character portraits. Just pages in, the anticipation is already deliciously unbearable—we’re terrified for sweet, damaged Charlotte because she is so nakedly there on the page, a child-woman made vulnerable by her innocence. Already we sense the mounting inevitability of an extraordinary show-down with the chilling Phil Leone, and this sense only deepens with each installment, as more characters thrum to life, all equally naked in their wanting and fearing.

It is, without a doubt, a page-turner, but it is also a profound look at human fragility, the momentum of evil, and the bravery required for kindness. This book is both unusually kind and unusually brave. It is also an unusually good read, marrying the depth and beauty of literary fiction to the adrenaline rush of a thriller.

Why Read: I have to credit my choice in this book to the amazing podcast of Book Riot (which you must find and listen to at least one episode because it’s incredible), and the app they recommended: Read Rooster. Although I ended up not liking this book as much as I thought I would and hoped to – I’m glad I got to read a realistic fiction book.

Review: As much as I want to enjoy realistic fiction, it’s hard to enjoy reading when all the topic discusses is the sad life of different individuals trapped in situations they can’t escape. That, for me, is the issue of realistic fiction and really why I couldn’t give this book more than a 3.

I can’t argue with character development, and I’m a sucker for well-developed ones. The focuses in ‘I Was Here’ are all superbly developed and as sad I as I became every time I opened up the book – I was interested in how their miserable lives evolved next. What I thought was chiefly good was the description of Charlotte and the way her outlook of the world is so fundamentally different from everyone else’s. Is that because she works with children? Is it because she had an upbringing, which changed her internally?

The plot… I can argue with a bit more. The switches between past and present often perplexed me and I was left floundering which time period I was in, or which characters I should be paying attention to. While that did subside after reading through the entire book, it should bother me as a reader. However, it was the development of other characters that caught my attention. Specifically Pauline, she really was one of my favorite parts about the book because I could see the changes in her lifestyle and in her thinking.

So end result? You’ve probably gathered I didn’t enjoy the book all that much – but that’s the story with tales, which leave a slightly bitter taste in your mouth. But for character development particularly – there has not been another book lately, which I’ve seen dominate the idea of development in two time periods with better success.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Review Coming Soon: Affliction Z: Patient Zero

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