Friday, May 9, 2008

Book Review: Something Rotten by Alan Gratz

This is the first book review that I've done since I've been back from the Chapel Hill retreat so I was able read this book with a new eye (or is it ear), for voice.

As a reader, this book is a fun, witty and humorous mystery with compelling characters. It's a great read for the both avid and reluctant readers alike.

Sarcastic, good-guy Horatio helps his out-of-control best friend solve the mystery of who killed his father.

From a writers point of view, this was a great example of the 8 elements of voice that Martha Mihalick talked about at the retreat last month.

The Language, syntax and world view of the book/main character was not just consistent with a teen male in no-where'sville America, but I really felt like I was getting an authentic and honest peek inside of a guys brain. I appreciated Gratz's honest approach to the "regualar-guy" mind-set given through the MC.

The tone was humorous, sarcastic and mysterious

The Pacing was dead on. Things kept moving, enough info was kept from the reader to make it a mystery, but I never felt confused. This is a trait of mystery novels that seems like it would be difficult to write. But it was done well. I kept wanting to read more. It was fun to keep guessing who-dunnit?

The theme, both underlying and main, meshed with the other elements of voice. It was fun to see how all things pertaining to "stink" permeated the entire book. I think this book would also make a great thesaurus for the word "odor" :0) If you need a good idea on how to describe something stinky? Read this book. ;0)

There was also a good variety of underlying thematic dichotomies: pursuit vs. pushing away, control vs. chaos, purity vs. polution, loyalty vs. self-seeking, life vs. death (to be or not to be)

Imagery and symbolism: I think it's pretty safe to say that all the imagery and symbolism could be directly linked back to the themes, and world view of the character mentioned above.

Finally, the structure. It was all so well put together. All the elements were in harmony and supported one another.

I'ts a great read and a great example of solid writing!

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