Sunday, June 08, 2008

A Little Friendly Advice, by Siobhan Vivian

At Ruby's 16th birthday, her long-absent Dad suddenly shows up. Ruby is not so pleased to see him again and runs out of her own party screaming. Her friends come after her and offer their support and advice on how to deal with the situation, just as they have always done in the past. However, this time, Ruby begins to realize that the help of friends is not always given without strings attached or some degree of self-interest. And that may pose dangers.

There is some excellent writing going on here, in terms of voice and characterization. Vivian has a good ear for dialog and the action feels very realistic. But the story is a mess. It was a good 80 pages or more before I could truly figure out what the story was even about (I don't read blurbs before I start reading the book). And it floats rather aimlessly about. Yes, there is an ending and a fairly normal narrative, but there is also so much noise and distraction going on that you don't get a story so much as a slice of life. Good writing is not just about capturing people, it's about telling a story -- Vivian needs to do that.

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