Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Someone Else's Son

Author: Sam Hayes

Genre: Modern Fiction

Pages: 501

First Published: 2010

First Line: "Before she knew what was happening the knife was in and out of his body."

Synopsis: Popular TV talk show host Carrie Kent's life changes instantly when she receives a call from the police telling her than her teenage son Max has been stabbed at school. After Max dies from his injuries his mother questions whether she ever really knew her only child whom she shuttled off to boarding schools and pawned off on her housekeeper while she built her media empire.

Suddenly Carrie finds that she has a lot more in common with her TV show guests than she could have ever dreamed of. She vows to find out how and why her son got killed. But with the only witness a scared and awkward teenage girl who isn't sharing what she knows, how will Carrie get the answers she needs?

My Thoughts: When I first read the synopsis of this book I thought that this was a popular premise (teen murder at school) but with a twist that the mother is a famous talk show host (picture the love child of Oprah and Jerry Springer who also is influenced by crazy Uncle Geraldo). When I started reading the book I got a very Jodi Picoult vibe from it and was hoping for the same kind of twists and turns and 'ah ha' moment that Picoult is known for. I also could have gotten this connection with Picoult because only a few months ago I read Picoult's "Nineteen Minutes" which deals with a similar teen murder. Having that book in the back of my mind (which I gave 4/5 stars) it may have coloured how I viewed this book. While "Someone Else's Son" had a lot of the same issues and teen characters as "Nineteen Minutes" it definitely didn't have Picoult's ability to grab me nor the tension that is required for this kind of read.

One of my biggest peeves of this book was that there was an abundance of smaller subplots that were either not needed for the overall storyline (Carrie's jaunt into Scotland) or the subplots that didn't feel like they were summed up properly. For example, Carrie and her ex-husband Brody's marriage and why it failed (we'll never know), Dayna's horrible mother (why is she like that?), Brody's assistant and her secret adoration of her boss (creepy but nothing comes of it) etc etc.

Plus, even though we get a glimpse into the lives of Dayna, Carrie, Max and Brody I still felt like I didn't know who they were. They were all very two-dimensional - especially Carrie who was a very cliched 'smile for the camera but get the story no matter what' TV host".

While the book deals with many highly sensitive and important issues (teen bullying, a sad lack of parental involvement and outright neglect from parents as they 'raise' their kids, divorce ...) I think that the book could have keep up the intensity and tension of the plot a lot better. I figured out two possible feasible culprits and, as the book went on, it became obvious to me who had actually killed Max.

I've read many highly acclaimed reviews of this author's other books. These reviews surprised me since I didn't love this book. But I plan to read at least one more of her books before handing down my verdict on this author.

My Rating: 2/5 stars


TheBookGirl said...

Great review -- I am usually annoyed by too many plot lines, as inevitably some are so underdeveloped that they feel like afterthoughts...seems as tho that was a real problem here, so I am certain this is not a book for me.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Thanks, Book Girl! I agree about some subplots feeling like after thoughts. Maybe some authors think they need to beef up their books by adding more subplots to make their characters more well-rounded. Who knows. There's a fine line between adding interest and making the overall story too convoluted. Sadly, this book (in my humble 'never written a book m'self' opinion) had too many things going on and it effected the overall book.

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