Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: The Minnow by Diana Sweeney

Title: The Minnow
Author: Diana Sweeney
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Bookworld. Thank you!

Tom survived a devastating flood that claimed the lives of her sister and parents. Now she lives with Bill in his old shed by the lake. But it’s time to move out—Tom is pregnant with Bill’s baby.

Jonah lets her move in with him. Mrs Peck gives her the Fishmaster Super Series tackle box. Nana is full of gentle good advice and useful sayings.

And in her longing for what is lost, Tom talks to fish: Oscar the carp in the pet shop, little Sarah catfish who might be her sister, an unhelpful turtle in a tank at the maternity ward. And the minnow.

The Minnow is a moving and powerful coming of age story with a whimsical element that belies the heartbreaking truth of grief and loss. Tom is a character you will never forget.
Review by Nara

The Minnow is one incredibly strange book. "Whimsical" doesn't even begin to describe it.

I've seen many claims that the narration is incredibly powerful. And while the narrative voice was indeed very poignant, with the innocent tone highlighting Tom's youth, at times I felt almost as if the narrative voice was too young. It didn't really seem like a year ten student speaking, but someone much younger. And while I could appreciate the author's attempt at a "moving and powerful coming of age story" with roots of "the heartbreaking truth of grief and loss", honestly, I didn't particularly feel any strong emotion when reading the book. I felt very much like an observer rather than letting myself really get immersed in the world.

Probably the biggest reason for this was the very disconnected flow. The pacing just seemed off for me, leading to a slightly boring read, to be quite honest. The writing style was also rather problematic. While it was a very subtle writing style, where nothing was overtly stated, and sure, this follows the rule of "show don't tell"- it almost stuck too closely to that rule, because it was actually rather confusing at times. I would have liked some explanations, particularly at the end.

All in all, The Minnow was an impressive effort for a debut novel, but unfortunately, I found the execution lacking, with poor pace and a lack of emotional engagement.

It was okay
Overall: 6/10
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 4/5