Aberrations by Penelope Przekop is the story of Angel Duet, a young woman who suffers from narcolepsy, a sleep disorder, and who has spent her entire life mourning her mother who died giving birth to her. As I read about Angel’s struggle to stay awake and uncover her family’s history, I struggled in turn to maintain an interest in this story. It’s not that the story itself isn’t interesting, but rather that the writing style just didn’t work for me. Angel’s voice is too odd, full of confusing and overly dramatic ramblings that seemed to have little bearing on the plot such as: “Unlike those perfect people like Carla whom I sometimes wished to disembowel, Christian had no bowels. While the others stored reality, proof of their imperfection, deep within carefully constructed façades, he sported an empty compartment, clean and hollowed out” (p. 86). Plus the Southern dialect felt forced to me, an afterthought, as if peppering “ordinary” dialogue with “cain’ts” and “thangs” was enough to make it Southern—it distracted me rather than adding anything to the story. Since pretty much every single review I’ve seen of this book raves about it, I was disappointed when I realized I probably wouldn’t have finished reading Aberrations if it wasn’t for the fact that I was expected to review it. In the end, however, I’m glad I did, because I was able to better appreciate what Przekop was doing—how in fact some of her strange imagery fit together. I especially liked the multilayered meanings she attached to the cloud pictures taken by Angel’s mother. And there is no question that this book has the best book cover I’ve seen in a long time, both because it is beautiful in itself and because it works so well as a snapshot of this book.
I feel bad giving this book a bad review, in part because I’ve so enjoyed reading Penelope Przekop’s blog, Aberration Nation. However, what makes this blog one of my favourites is Przekop’s honesty and courage, so I can only hope she won’t fault me too much for being honest in this review.
Although this book wasn’t for me, lots of other people enjoyed it. For much more positive reviews of this book, head over to the following blogs:
BCF Book Reviews • Bookish Ruth • Kathleen’s Book Reviews • Pop Culture Junkie • Random Wonder • The Literate Housewife • Traci’s Book Bag
Przekop’s site also has a fascinating Q&A with the author. (Be warned, however, that the discussion contains some spoilers.)
Thank you to Mini Book Expo, Emerald Book Company and Planned Television Arts for sending me this book to review.