Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Book Review: Chasing Charlie by C. M. Newman

by M. J. Joachim


Depressing is the first word that comes to mind, when reading Chasing Charlie. I’m not sure what possessed me to keep reading, except that I knew my review would benefit writers and readers alike. You can’t imagine how many times I wanted to put this book down, never to read another word.

Chasing Charlie is about a middle-aged man diagnosed with cancer. For those of us who know the story all too well, having been touched personally by terminal cancer in our lives, this story is all too painful. For those who might be blessed to have missed such sorrow, it’s good to remember that not all cancer stories are this grueling.

Chasing Charlie was long, in that every conversation, experience, attitude, action, unspoken thought, feeling and pain was shared. Nothing is spared for the reader, nothing left to the imagination or emotion from within. So much so, that in comparison, it was like an artist continuing to paint, and spoiling what could have been a very beautiful painting.

Putting it mildly, the story was simply overwritten. It dragged on and on and on. Repetition not withstanding, multiple chapters of the main character telling everyone of importance that he was diagnosed, was way over the top. Newman didn’t stop there, however. Chemotherapy, stopping work, developing relationships as his body deteriorated, hospice, the wake followed by the funeral – all were written with so much detail, morosely so, that Chasing Charlie probably had the opposite intended response from me than was desired or expected.

There were so many times that I tossed my Kindle on the couch and said, “I get it already! Would you please move on and get to the point already!” Seriously, I did this through all 61 chapters and the epilogue.

Finally, when I was in the 50’s of chapters, I had something to laugh about. I’d’ve is not a word! I about busted a gut when it showed up in the manuscript. Up to this point, I was more than a little frustrated with the lack of editing, odd word sequences, duplicate word phrases where clearly, Newman probably needed to hit the backspace button a few more times, before continuing her thoughts. Technical difficulties – no, this was nothing less than poor editing, I’m sorry to say.

Somewhere beneath all the never-ending drama, devastating series of events and tragic happenings, a story was revealed. It was the story about a little boy named Charlie, who lost both his parents by the age of six. Unfortunately, it was completely overshadowed by the details of his father’s cancer and death, and was lost in translation. Charlie was a supporting character, not the focus of the story, a story that would have been so much better, had he been the star of the show, in my opinion.

Chasing Charlie will not be added to my Recommended Reading List.

Thank you for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today.

M. J.

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