Friday, September 14, 2012

First Chapter Review: Chasing Perfection by Jeremy J. Banks

Author Jeremy J. Banks submitted the first chapter of Chasing Perfection: How to Create A Monster in the American South for review.

BLURB:  Peter Valentine has decided to commit suicide by both cutting his wrists and hanging himself from a tree. Before he dies, he wants the world to know why he is committing suicide and what they can do to prevent it from happening in the future. He wants to show how the isolationist small town mentality breeds monsters out of intelligent people. He sits alone in his bedroom for a week and writes out his life story in his own unique and cynical point of view, beginning with his religious fanatic mother Sylvia's decision to move the family from Saint Louis, Missouri to a small southern town called Prominence River. Peter's odyssey from boy to man is rife with sexual perversion, rage, isolation, alienation, and long buried family secrets.

COVER:  Powerful. Moving. It has the feel of someone locked up or trapped, which seems to be Peter's issue.

FIRST CHAPTER: It's 1994. Peter Valentine is in his grandmother's trailer getting ready for his first day of school. He'll be entering seventh grade at Prominence River Elementary. A small school in a small town, prejudices keep him from fitting in. Angry at his mother for bringing him to Prominence River, separated from the father who is his hero, Peter is stuck in a hell of everyone else's making.

KEEP READING: I'm not a huge fan of social commentary thinly disguised in fiction, or books where the whole plot revolves around social issues. I want to get to know the characters. I want to feel the characters' pain or joy or sorrow. Peter is a boy dealing with a great amount of rage. Torn away from his father and forced to live with his abusive mother who thinks he must know the people he came from, he's miserable and mistreated. I want to feel that, but I don't. I want to care about him, but I can't because everyone is swearing up a storm to the point where I'm distracted. There is so much anger, so much tension, that my head is spinning. Now, I'm not saying this isn't realistic. I'm not claiming it won't hit home for some. But with the hostility, vulgarity, and multiple grammar issues, I already feel at a disadvantage while trying to relate to it. Since the synopsis tells the reader the outcome, she knows this book won't have a happy ending. Does she continue to read hoping to find the purpose behind all this? Perhaps being unaware of the outcome would make the story more meaningful. 

I feel, in the end, the author might achieve his goal of bringing the issues he feels passionate about to light, but I needed to connect to Peter on a more personal level and couldn't do it.  

  • File Size: 588 KB
  • Print Length: 312 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008OPE072
  • Currently $2.99 on Amazon 

The author submitted the first chapter of this book for a First Chapter Review. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have received no monetary compensation of any kind.

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