I’m sorry, Julia, but I’m not enjoying your latest novel, “I See You Everywhere.” I’m on page – oh hell, I’m reading it on a Kindle, so I don’t know what page I’m on. Section 1169, or about 25% of the way through the book – and I’m not sure I’m going to finish it.
This is pretty shocking to me. I loved “Three Junes”, but this book is annoying. The reasons why should be important to any aspiring writer.
For one thing, the two main characters are too similar. Both the girls are flirts, often with each others’ beaux, both have numerous men in and out of their lives, both are territorial and jealous. One is dismissive and rude, the other is judgmental. Yet the story is about their conflict with each other.
Yes, yes, I know. They’re secretly alike, and maybe their discovery of same will turn out to be the nugget the reader will discover toward the end. Except I’m not motivated enough to get there. It’s more than a bit of work to keep them separate in my mind. The chapters alternate between narrators, though, so that helps because often you can’t tell who is speaking, certainly not from her behavior or speech patterns, and Glass doesn’t identify them, or give us markers by which we might.
Second, neither of the sisters is likeable. One is selfish to the point of narcissism, the other is self-absorbed. (Again, this differentiates them – how?) Both are whiny. Blake Snyder, who wrote Save the Cat, said there has to be a moment when your main character performs some action, however miniscule, that makes you want to root for him or her. I haven’t got there yet and I’m not sure I will.
It’s entirely possible that I’m reading this all wrong, stupid Kindle aside. But I don’t think so, and I don’t intend to take that kind of risk with my future readers.