For those who carry a bookshelf with them on-the-go, Amazon releases a variety of e-books monthly for $3.99 or less. I’m here to discover narratives written by female authors and let you know if they’re worth storing on your virtual bookshelf.
There’s something to be said when you pick up a book in-between binge watching season one of Ray Donovan, and unapologetically disregard where you left the remote to proceed to the next episode. Reading Wreckage, written by Emily Bleeker, was like eagerly staying up late to press play on the next episode of a Netflix series that you instantly mourned once you reached the finale.
Told through the oscillation between first and third person (past and present) perspectives of two protagonists, Lillian and Dave, Wreckage explores the effects of surviving a horrific plane crash. As the only survivors of the crash, Lillian, Dave, and Kent (the pilot) spend two years on an island together where they face the hardships of primitivity, the acceptance of desperation, and the death of the lives they once lived back home. After beating the odds, surviving, and eventually being found, Lillian and Dave return to their families where they face Genevieve Randall, a persistant journalist whose suspicions about Lillian and Dave’s story holds some merit, especially when the first line of Bleeker’s novel reads: “Sometimes you have to lie. Sometimes it’s the only way to protect the ones you love.”
Although Randall questions both Dave and Lillian about what actually happened on the island, Lillian and Dave stick to the story they created to seamlessly return to their lives without jeopardizing their family, and potentially putting their own lives a risk. However, reuniting with their families after the impactful events over the last two years on an isolated island has its aftereffects, whether they are publicly exposed or kept concealed as memories sworn off by promises.
Bleeker strings together an intricate story that’s difficult to put down. Besides the captivating plot lines, questions of honesty, love, ethics, death, and culpability are imperative themes that emphasize the internal struggle of the human condition.
On Amazon, Wreckage currently sits with a 4 out of 5 star rating. Overall, readers have responded well to the novel, strongly captivated by the storyline and it’s readability. Those who’ve shared their concerns about the novel stress that it’s difficult to piece together given its oscillating perspectives. Others believe that it’s undercooked, characters falling short of authenticity and believability, and some believe that the “mystery” that lingers until the final pages is entirely predictable. And although I can partly understand some of the latter frustrations with the novel, I’d have to lean towards admiring Bleeker’s work and disagreeing with its negative responses.
The shifting perspectives not only satisfied my concerns about narrator reliability, but it also provided a temporal dimension that blended well with the novels concept of unpredictability and change. A life-changing event such as a plane crash cannot be transcribed as well with an atemporal narrator that simply sticks to the historical present tense. Visiting the crash in real-time, followed by the present interview with Genevieve, paints the reader with a slightly more reliable picture. As for character authenticity, Dave and Lillian tell the story that they are involved in, not leaving much room for other characters to be closely unraveled because of the plot. Although we are given two in-depth perspectives, the reader is hindered by the inner dialogue of other characters just as much as Dave and Lillian are. This is also to say that a deeper construction of other characters wouldn’t have fit as well–think about it, when you are carefully birthing a lie that needs constant nurturing, how could you possibly give thought to anything else around you? Lying and a guilty conscience is the perfect formula to produce anxiety, another physical and emotional state that is difficult to overlook.
As for the ending being predictable, I certainly didn’t predict it. This could be because I was thoroughly enjoying the lead up and didn’t want to think about the ending–something that Dave and Lillian could possibly relate to.