I had honestly wanted to make it a little further in this project before I left a bad review. But I can’t help it, I think it’s time. I have been trying to read Shadow Baby by Alison McGhee for a little over two weeks now, I even put it down for a week while I read the Chaos Walking Series. I thought maybe some time away would help me get into the novel a little bit. But it didn’t work.
This novel could have a great storyline, plot, and character development – but I would have no idea. The entire book is narrated by 11 year-old Clara as she searches for information on her missing father and sister. Along the way she befriends her elderly neighbor Georg Kominsky. They attempt to come to terms with their secretive pasts together. I was hoping this novel would be a great story of an unlikely friendship, with a hint of mystery and self-discovery. I love a good story about a person finding themselves, so I had high hopes.
But I could not get behind the characters. The narrative of an 11 year-old girl is hard to follow for more than a few chapters. I found myself getting confused between the book’s reality, and make-believe of Clara’s imagination. The monotonous drone of a curious child is really not something I miss from being 11 years old, and it’s not a place that I had wanted to revisit. I found myself getting annoyed with this fictional child for not being able to stay on message. So really, a spot-on impression by Alison McGhee.
I know this review is a little short, and kind of harsh. But I really don’t think I even made it 100 pages in before I threw in the towel. Maybe I’ll try something else by McGhee another time, something narrated by an adult next time.