My Grade: D
Plot / Premise
Born with blue in his collar instead of his veins, best-selling author Dean Cassidy chronicles his soul-scarring rise from New York’s darkest alleys to a place high atop the literary world. As difficult and unlikely as such a climb is, there’s yet another force working against Dean. He’s forever haunted by treasured memories of his long-lost teenage soul-mate. Theresa! Theresa! Theresa! She just won’t go away! Despite all Dean’s hang-ups and mental baggage, he eventually does marry another woman. And for twenty years his wife, Maddy Frances, remains so giving (and forgiving) she deserves to be canonized a living saint. Even after she finds Dean unconscious at a botched suicide attempt–a time-faded photograph of Theresa clenched in his hands-her love never wavers. But is Maddy’s loyalty enough to keep them together? Or will a force far stronger than fate alone change everything?
Though I can appreciate the character working hard for his success, and the fact that he ultimately grows up and makes the right decision (which, by very definition, comes with maturity), I could not get past the preachy-bankers-and-business-type-people-are-evil segments of this book. I have no patience for characters, or authors, who can’t resist pushing their political agendas on to their readers. I know it’s hard to separate the author from the story, but at the very least, insert a counter character into the story that brings up the other side of the (author’s) issue so that the reader is not left with a bitter after taste.
Look. Life is full of hard knocks and when people work hard, make good life decisions, and finally achieve success, we should be happy for those individuals, not begrudge their hard work. Being envious is a natural feeling, but to harbor resentment and use that bitterness as a roadblock toward a better life, is counter productive. For ultimately, Dean finally achieves success from his hard work and he has every right to savor that success – should he feel guilty for that success? Should he hand his hard-earned success off to someone who hasn’t made good life decisions or who has chosen not to work as hard?
Now that he’s one of the successful people he has resented all of his life – now what? It’s suddenly okay to have money and be successful because it happened to him?
Dean was selfish, immature and a punk. Though I understand his deep love for Theresa and his regret that it didn’t work out and his guilty conscience for his role in the break up, I felt the most sorry for Maddy, she had to deal with the left overs.
I thought the character was weak in so many ways – sure, his childhood was rough, but he allowed that experience to define him instead of giving him strength and courage to grow up and move past it.
I will say, the writing was pretty good. There were some editing glitches, but for the most part, it moved the story forward and the author did a great job depicting all of Dean’s conflicting emotions.
Though I didn’t care one whit for Dean, I’d be willing to read more of this author’s work.