CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 9 . . . . January 6, 2006
A.S. Mott has written five, contemporary, somewhat “haunting,” sometimes humorous stories. All five have good, surprising plot twists. However, that is their only consistent strength. Most of the stories have little or no character development. There is some character growth in “Samantha's Diary,” the story of a teenaged girl/ghost who has died as a result of the alcoholic anesthetist assisting on her ‘nose job.' Ostensibly this is Samantha's story; however, it is mainly her parents whose characters develop. There is also a little character development in “The Hunt.”
Shortly after the protagonist of this story finds out that his boss and his beloved – the boss's daughter – are werewolves, he is turned into one, too. In “Reality Television,” there is almost no difference between any of the (all adult) characters' voices. In this fairly gory horror, there are two sets of characters: a TV show's contestants and its producers. Amongst these two groups, readers would not have a clue who is speaking without the author telling them.
Three out of the five stories in this book are about ghosts. In the first two, Mott sets up some “rules” about what happens when you die. For example, the newly dead are greeted by a man in a white suit who tells them their choices in the afterlife. In “Samantha's Diary,” the third ghost story, Mott breaks these “rules.” For instance, one can't help wondering why Samantha hasn't met the man in white, why she can choose when to leave Earth, and how she is able to write a diary when she can't hold onto anything unless she's extremely upset. These unanswered questions lessen the story's credibility. In each story except “The Hunt,” one begins to wonder, whose story is it? For instance, “Samantha's Diary” starts out about Samantha but ends up being more about her parents. In “Reality Television,” an omniscient narrator leaves the reader feeling disconnected from everyone. Similarly, in “Happily Ever After” and “Living Dead,” two ghost stories with adult casts and omniscient narrators, there are a number of point of view problems.
Ultimately, these issues distance the reader.
Karen Rankin is a Toronto writer and editor of children's stories.
To comment on this
title or this review, send mail to email@example.com.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal
use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.