Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Faultline, by Janet Tashjian

Having enjoyed Multiple Choice, I looked up other tashjian books and found this one about dating violence. It's hard to read the book without comparing it to Sarah Dessen's Dreamland (one of my all-time favorite books).

Becky Martin is a high school senior in San Francisco, working on a budding career in stand up comedy, when she meets Kip, a very talented young comic with issues. Before she knows it, she's swept away into a torrid relationship with him that becomes emotionally abusive and eventually physically abusive as well. But Becky is no passive victim and she has the strength to break off the relationship as it goes bad, until she finds out that she isn't as strong as she thought she was.

The story is a powerful one of course, but I wish that Tashjian had kept the focus more on Becky's feelings and emotional state (which is basically how Dessen treated the story) and less time on the side story of Becky's comedy career (which is more of a Joan Bauer-esque way of handling the story). There is too much going on in this thin book (transvestite nanny, comedy practice, being a tour guide) and it keeps distracting the reader from the meat of the story itself.

Tashjian does make the powerful decision to include Kip's personal musings at various points through the story. As she relates in the afterward, she does this to avoid demonizing the boy. This adds a degree of subtlety to the book that other abusive-boyfriend stories have lacked.

A mixed review then. Excellent potential, strong writing, but needed a tighter focus.

No comments: