Review: The Winner

The Winner
The Winner by David Baldacci
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m noticing a trend in books I can’t stand. It’s not the pages of useless exposition (which this book has). It’s not the flat and awkwardly constructed sentences (which this book also has). And it’s not even the odd pacing issues (which, well you can guess). The thing that drives me nuts is a book full of unbelievable premises and characters. You can tell me a giant squid squirted ink on the moon and put us in eternal nocturnal darkness and I’ll believe it—if you tell it honestly and convincingly. But if you fill a world full of contradictions and happenings that go against practical tendencies, then no way.

If you look at the one star ratings of this book, they all have a common theme: the book is unbelievable.

The nuances begin slowly. We are supposed to believe that our lead character reads to her daughter every night, but can never conjugate a verb properly. Even after living ten years as a multimillionaire, she still don’t get it. (Intentional usage, in case you were wondering.) I believe audiences are weary of seeing regional dialect used as a literary gimmick to portray intellect and education level.

This book could have easily been chopped in half. The author tries to use pages of useless exposition to convince us of the impossible. The more the author tried, the worse it got. At one point, I expected a mustached villain to appear and tie our heroine to the train tracks. It was painful.

And what’s with the ten year skip? When in doubt, skip ten years? That just made everything worse. Are we supposed to believe that a man would run off with the epitome of sexual desire with the intent of “just being friends”? Harry and Sally have taught us otherwise (Justin and Mila for you younger folks). But then we are left to guess, with a little backtracking, how these characters magically developed over a ten year span.

But the book is not for naught. The author has a talent that shines through more often than not and the general idea of the story is a lot of fun. It’s a shame that we had to be brought along through an unbelievable adventure that used 300 extra pages to try and convince us otherwise.

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