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Friday, May 2, 2014

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Book Review: Safe & Sound

What do you do when the love of your life is tragically ripped away, leaving you to pick up the pieces before you're ready? The premise of Safe & Sound by T. S. Krupa had me intrigued with its promise of a long and emotional journey to self-discovery. The journey was long, certainly, and mildly emotional, but not for the reasons the story intends. Safe & Sound begins with a punch to the gut, but the energy quickly dissipates and sadly fails to reorganize itself throughout the rest of the book.
After Jay Greenfield goes out for a morning run, his wife, Jill, wakes up to a horrible phone call. Jay’s been involved in a car accident that has left him braindead. In a matter of days, Jill is forced to end her husband’s life, host his funeral, and accept that she will never have the future that she and her husband envisioned. With the support of her best friends Lanie and Stella, Jill slowly begins to move on, and soon learns that even in death, her husband is full of surprises. He’s left her the means and the opportunity to live her dreams, if she can only overcome her grief.  

While reading, I couldn't shake the thought that this felt more like a first draft of a novel rather than the final, shelf-ready version. Events seem to materialize randomly and a little too conveniently, which makes for a tedious reading experience. On every page I was eagerly waiting for conflict or plot, some sort of promise of suspense or discovery to compel me to keep turning the page... but the promise was left unfulfilled. 

The e-book was riddled with simple typos and grammatical errors. Sentence structure was extremely repetitive, to the point that I began highlighting them to keep track, and eventually stopped because I was growing bored of highlighting. Were editors or proofreaders involved in the production of this book? I have no clue, but based on the evidence in my hands, I have to assume not.

It's a shame, because the premise is not bad, and I think this could have made quite a tearjerker of a story. The story of a young woman losing her husband and having to find meaning in her life is compelling, and that's why I wished for something more in Safe & Sound. There was SO MUCH potential to delve deeper! The book is full of interesting characters who could provide substance: her late husband's father, who was for all intents and purposes estranged but shows up for the funeral; Jay's best friend Harry, who sees himself as the perfect man to take his place; and there are mentions of best friend Stella's mysterious beau who never actually makes an appearance in the story and frankly left me wondering if he even existed.

What I hoped to see in the course of the book was a young woman who must rediscover her identity as an individual rather than one half to a whole, who must learn to handle the tasks that her husband once managed, who may need to navigate among friends and colleagues who won't always understand what she's going through, and who ultimately discovers new meaning to life. These obstacles are set up but never effectively knocked down. Jill spends the majority of the book coddled by her best friends, who are frequently at her side despite the fact that they both have demanding jobs and one lives five hundred miles away. After the funeral Jill's boss wants her to come back to work, so she quits. She has night terrors nearly every night, but we only discover what they are in the last chapter, and then miraculously they go away. There are moments when we learn more about Jill's relationship with her husband, but they end once a new man enters the scene.

I must admit that, although the majority of the story was like wandering through an ever expanding forest with no clear paths, I thought it ended in the right place. I liked the new love interest (though I did feel ten months was a little soon for Jill to be professing her love to someone else). But more than that, I liked that he was just that; a love interest. He did not save Jill. In the end she saves herself, and the final chapter makes that clear. I just wish the rest of the book was a sensible lead up to this moment.

There were a few good moments in Safe & Sound, but the execution was a little too untidy for my tastes. That said, it is a debut novel, so I'll keep an eye on T.S. Krupa to see how her next book compares.

Title: Safe & Sound

Author:  T.S. Krupa

Genre: Adult, Contemporary

Recommendation: No

Best Reader Audience: Adults

Final Rating: One out of five dozy foxes

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1 comment:

  1. You bring up great points in your review. I just recently finished the book and I my feelings were a bit uncertain, on one hand the novel had great promise on the other it fell a bit short on the execution. I agree though, that it is a debut novel so perhaps there is more and better to look forward too? :)