Sunday, January 31, 2016
What You Left Behind, by Jessica Verdi
I liked the premise and I (mostly) liked Ryden -- he's got a lot of facets and he's generally quite sympathetic. But the whole blaming himself thing fell flat, as did the really harsh criticism he takes from his friends. The story was melodramatic enough without all the whining from Ryden. There were also a number of throwaway subplots (the girlfriends' parents, Ryden's ex-girlfriend Shoshanna) that did nothing at all. In sum, the novel needed a red pen and a focus. It also needed to be shortened and given a lot more punch -- the secret truth that is supposed to devastate our hero is painfully obvious to the reader long in advance.