In the most recent novels I have read – one adult, the other YA (young adult) – the endings have left me “blah.” This is too bad. It has nothing to do with genre or a sound storyline, but more with tying up loose ends. While the beginnings grab a hold of me (so much so, that I look forward to turning the pages), the endings are akin to letting the air out of a beautiful balloon. So much promise unrealized.
There Is No Dog (young adult) is a hoot on any level. How can it not be when God is a sex-crazed, seventeen-year-old man/boy? Meg Rosoff does a clever twist by giving the Western Christian God the dysfunctional family background – a rival to any in Greek mythology. The story spreads before the reader with a mélange of characters, all with their own bizarre personal histories; this only adds to the quirkiness of the novel. Yet, as I neared the climactic end with anticipation and the hope of human need for resolution, it failed me. Nuts. Yes [SPOILER] the boy got the girl; the brat was fooled; the meddling mother was banished, but so what? I felt abandoned by my God or god or whoever. So much for faith.
The Scribe of Siena: a novel by Melodie Winawer (adult) is another odd story as it combines the workaholic life of a neurosurgeon with her time-travel trip to a soon-to-be Black Plague ridden, 14th century Italy. Go figure. Winawer creates a credible history leading up to the events where Beatrice, transported to Sienna, finds herself alone yet more than capable of coping. Never underestimate a neurosurgeon. Moreover, she apprentices as a scribe at the local hospital in the midst of her confusion. Yes, I know…how in heaven’s name is the credible; believe me, it is, and it demonstrates the strength of her writing. What is not credible is the ending which leaves those in the 21st century hanging out to dry. I, too, was twisting in the wind (Can you tell that I am miffed, at best, by my overuse of idioms?).
So, while gathering more novels for the winter’s blizzards to come, I will confess that I am nervous about this hopeful attitude of mine….will there, indeed, be a promise of the proverbial spring?
Rosoff, Meg. There Is No Dog. G.P. Putnam’s Son, 2011.
Winawer, Melodie. The Scribe of Sienna: a novel. Touchstone, 2017.