Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Eyes of Van Gogh, by Cathryn Clinton

Jude has been dragged around a lot in her first 17 years as her mother bounced from one man to another [I seem to be reading a lot of these wandering Mom books lately!]. And in that time she has never been able to find friends and feel at home. As she sees her mother's anger, she realizes that neither has her Mom. But when they move to Ellenville, Jude hopes things will be different. Her grandmother is there and Jude makes two new friends and finds a boyfriend. But when things go wrong and fall apart, Jude gets swept away in depression that nothing will ever change. And looking at her artistic hero (Vincent Van Gogh) she becomes convinced that that is just how life is.

It's hard work to write a book about depression that doesn't make your character appear whiny. Clinton does a good job there. In fact, the characters are overall quite well developed. Even the story is nicely paced and interesting. So, why did I hate this book (and geez, I've been reading a lot of goose eggs lately, haven't I?)? I think it is because the writing is positively clunky. At first, I thought it was a stylistic thing (writing in a young person's voice) but this is just a poorly written book.

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