So Many Reasons Why
by: Missy Johnson
** This book contains themes such as sexual abuse, drug use and language that make it suitable for a mature audience only.**
I’ve never read a novel that has an emphasis on agoraphobia so it was like covering new ground in an inviting and entertaining method. I found the back story of the main character, Emma, to be perfectly balanced throughout the story. The author didn’t overpower the plotline with the sordid details of what happened to her when she was younger. Instead she gives us slivers of memories in brief spurts throughout the book. This was a method that I liked and felt was well-played.
Some readers may feel conflict in the quickly-developing relationship between Emma and her college professor however I didn’t feel that way at all. I’ve been privy to some private true stories of people who, in realy life, developed intense emotional connections to another person over the computer and for me this aspect of the story was pretty much in tune with the realities of online chat and email experiences. It can happen. It doesn’t alway, but it can. For this reason I didn’t have a hard time following this aspect of the story. The professor even clearly admitted that what he was doing was wrong in many ways. People will do things, even knowing that it is wrong, especially when emotions get involved.
Emma is young, stifled in her home in which she never leaves, and is very stressed due to the impending release of her attacker. Seeing her attach her emotions onto something else was something I also could appreciate as being potentially valid in real life. Again, I had no problem with this storyline. The relationship storyline was at times very…erotic and…wow. I would definitely NOT let my teen read this. It is definitely for adults only.
Now, where did the story lack, again, in my personal opinion:
It took me a while to really connect with Emma’s friends Cass and Tom. With that being said, I think Emma was very fortunate to have friends like these. I won’t say this was a very negative influence to the story. They weren’t at all the vital characters in this novel so to not grow attached…well, it doesn’t knock my verdict score down much. I did connect pretty well with Emma’s grandma and in fact felt she added a very comedic feel to the small scenes she was in. I think the author could have developed a parallelism using Emma and her grandma better if she had attempted to.
There were small points in the storyline that I felt was completley unwarrented and not needed at all. The emails to the distant relative and how she played into the story…it was all very useless in my opinion. The author did however try to twist everything together and I suppose in some small unrelative manner she did.
The pre-ending….hmm. I felt that Emma overcame some very BIG steps in too brief a time. Perhaps if I saw a little more movement throughout the story I would have accepted her ‘heroic’ attempts. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I also don’t know I felt about the wrap-up before the end. I think the best way to summarize it was…not totally worked out mentally before writing it out.
The end itself was bittersweet. It was good. I liked Emma’s choices, though hard they were and I’m not sure if everybody would make such a decision. I liked that her choices were supported. I liked that the author had the guts to leave it the way she did. Open to interpretation. Stories are alive and they continue, if written well, even after the story is over. This author attempted it and I felt she did it well.
My overall verdict: 8/10