DISCLAIMER: I received an advanced copy of the book. It won’t be released until 30 January 2018, but don’t bother reading it. My other disclaimer is, I try to be very open when I do my reviews. I try to keep my deep personal thoughts out. If I do put my personal opinion in, as in the case of The Shoeless Child, in which I gave my honest opinion, but encouraged others to read the book. I may have disliked Shoeless Child a great deal, but I didn’t want others to dislike it without reading it first. My goal in my reviews is to be honest, without being downright mean. However, with The Night Child, I am going to be completely honest in my review because there’s no other way around it.
The bad writing along with unbelieve scenes and actions just don’t allow me to write this review in any other way than in a no-holds-barred way.
The premise of The Night Child is the protagonist, Nora (a high school AP English teacher), sees a vision of a child (female), towards the back of her classroom (I’m seriously trying not to laugh as I type this). The child doesn’t have arms or legs, just a head and I believe shoulders. Errr, that should be enough to have you all laughing. And I’m speaking of the laughter that comes when something is so ridiculous, all you can do is laugh.
The husband, Paul, is a complete asswipe as it is. The daughter, Fiona, is a pain in the ass spoiled kid. And Nora is a straight up nutter.
Paul is a developer, or something like that, and is working on a big business deal that could get the business and himself big bucks and him a possible promotion. He ignores his wife and thinks she overreacts to things. I’m inclined to agree. The daughter, Fiona, is very much catered to by her mother. And Nora is just a straight up whack job with pent-up childhood memories. Once they are brought to light, you really don’t care.
As mentioned, Nora is nutter. And this is the kind of nutter that will make you nuts just reading about her. She decides to see a psychiatrist (I decided to search this god-awful book to find out what David is). And I believe it’s on the second or third meeting (trust me, I’m not giving anything away by my next words) Nora’s other personality comes out, and her personality is named Margaret. Margaret is six-years-old and just as annoying as Nora. Margaret, Nora has come to assume, is the ghost she saw in her classroom.
Let’s start with the writing. Chapter 1 and I believe Chapter 2 is good. I started the book believing I was going to really enjoy the ride. The first chapter really starts out good until she sees the vision of a child in her room. However, that’s easy to overlook because it’s a brief encounter and the writer, Anna Quinn, moves on to something else.
It’s when Nora goes to see David, the shrink, the writing takes a spiral turn down a dark, muddy road which seems to have no end to stupidity. I’m not an expert in what happens in sessions like this, but someone revealing their other personalities shouldn’t happen in the second or third session. This was the first *eye rolling* that took place. The second *eye rolling* was the description of Margaret emerging, or making herself known.
Prior to the Margaret reveal, the writer had Nora constantly clutching a pillow, tightening her knees, blinking rapidly, other extremely stupid, eye-rolling things, that seemed way off base. I think what made it seem so way off is there were no indications prior to all this that Nora was a straight up whack job. If the book slowly introduced us to Nora’s mental state, and the psychiatry visits were at least five deep before revealing Margaret, maybe, just maybe, it would be believable. But that’s not what happened. We are introduced to Nora in chapter one and taken straight down the rabbit hole of insanity.
I ended up scheming over a chapter in which Nora was at the psychiatrist office because not only did the writing turn juvenile, the scenes described were painful to read. Not painful for Nora, but painful for the reader. These scenes went into too much detail.
When David retrieved a bottle of water to pour into a bottle or cup was so exact to where the writer documented every little thing he did pertaining to the water bottle. I was trying to find the exact passage, but unable to do so. But basically, she would say and mind you, this is me making up something as an example of how overly detailed she was,”he moved from his chair to get a bottle of water. Putting one foot in front of the other until he reached the water. When he returned to his chair, with his left hand holding the bottle, he unscrewed the cap with his right hand. With the cap off the water bottle, he poured the water into a glass sitting on his desk, near the edge. After pouring the water, he swiveled his chair around and with his left hand, he threw the empty bottle in the trash can.”
My job as a reviewer is not to rewrite the book, just to review it. With that being said, the passage example I provided didn’t need that detailed. I’m not sure if the writer was trying to fill up space or felt we, as readers, were that dense, we needed to know exactly how someone retrieves water, or holds a pillow tightly or removes a cap from a marker to be used on a whiteboard (these are things that take place in the book).
When I read a book, I visualize everything I’m reading, which is how most people read books. But when you start laughing and meaning, side-splitting laughter and there’s no laughter to be had in what you’re reading, it’s time to call it quits. The book isn’t going to get any better.
I stopped reading 67% into the book for I knew this book wasn’t going to get any better. And those that gave the book good reviews must either be friends with Anna Quinn or didn’t want to hurt the author’s feelings. As for me, and I’ve mentioned this already as well, I try to be honest without being downright mean. But in this case, I’ve decided to be brutally honest about my thoughts on the book.
I give this book 1 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I would have liked to give it negative 5 out of five stars. This book was an absolute waste of my time
The Night Child is Anna Quinn’s first book and I hope her last. I read her bio and it says, “She has thirty years of experience teaching and leading writing workshops across the country.” This was my face when I read that
And what I said while making that face
I wish I could say give this book a try for there’s probably something I missed that you may pick up on, but I can’t. If a book hasn’t gotten any better by the time you reach 67% it’s not going to get any better.
There were a group of words in the book in Chapter 17 I absolutely loved and going to use to describe my blog:
This was the only good thing to come out of the book.
Betrayal In Blue by Burl Barer
NYPD officers Mike Dowd and Kenny Eurell knew there were two ways to get rich quick in Brooklyn’s Lower East Side. You either became drug dealers, or you robbed drug dealers. They decided to do both.
“I promised my wife that we would make a lot of money, and that she had nothing to worry about. I LIED!”
Dowd and Eurell ran the most powerful gang in New York’s dangerous 75th Precinct, the crack cocaine capitol of 1980s America. These “ Cocaine Cops” formed a lucrative alliance with Adam Diaz, the kingpin of an ever-expanding Dominican drug cartel. Soon Mike and Ken were buying fancy cars no cop could afford, and treating their wives to levels of luxury not associated with a patrol officer’s salary. They Were Daring, Dangerous and Untouchable Until …Then “ the biggest police scandal in New York history” exploded into the headlines with the arrest of Mike, Ken, and their fellow crooked cops. Released on bail, Mike offered Ken a long shot at escape to Central America—a bizarre plan involving robbery, kidnapping, and murder—forcing Ken to choose between two forms of betrayal. – source amazon.com