It is snowy, cold and blech outside...seems to be the perfect time to curl up with my computer, a cup of coffee and write a rambling. Today I shall ramble on about a book that caught my eye called The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser. I was at the bookstore looking for a completely different book, when the cover jumped out at me...and seriously with a cover like this I pretty much had to buy it. It ended up being a bit hit or miss for me, though it did re inspire the return of my book journal...but before we get to that, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Story - We have the problem of too many stories to accurately judge this category. Some of these stories are more successful then others. The best story in my humble opinion was the one of the ruined manuscript. Through out the book, there are fragments given to us that make it sound like a fairly typical fairy tale, to find out that it is a pretty dark and twisted story is pretty awesome. I feel like I did with the world building that if we had more information it would have been easier for the reader to see where all the various disparate stories tied together. For me it was a bunch of flipping back and forth and wondering if I missed something. In general, each story line was pretty good, they just didn't completely gel to create a whole.
Character - This book had a ton of characters in it. Some where created just for the book and some were pulled from the literary world. I was pretty ambivalent about most of the characters, didn't really hate any of them...but didn't really fall in love with any of them either. For the most part, most of the characters where just there to further the story without a whole lot of personality, history or motivation. Will, Amy and Alexis where the most formed of the characters, and I liked Will the best of those three. Amy and Alexis where your fairly typical young mom/teenager duo that seems to be popular lately, didn't hate them, didn't love them.
Editing - So this book was translated from it's native German, which is pretty cool 'cause I love getting view points that are not typically American. That being said, the flow of the book was not my favorite. I felt that the there were to many storylines and not enough information. While this is mostly on the writer, I feel an editor can maybe point out to an author that maybe the reader isn't in the author's head and needs some background, or history, or consistency for the book to work. It isn't horrible editing, but like the rest of the categories...meh
Book Jumping - Ok, here we have one of my biggest issues with this book, and a particular literary peeve in general. For me the overall concept of the book jumping left me with a ton of questions and very few answers, in fact it inspired me to get out my book journal again so that I could write down all my questions about book jumping. Here are just a few thoughts I had. Who discovered it? Why only these two families? How diluted can the blood get? Seriously how do these two tiny families keep track of EVERY book? What is their purpose again? If they are the only ones who can jump...aren't they the only ones who can mess up the story? Why are the characters aware of the jumpers? Umm...about the timelines? How do you turn the page? Seriously, other then the mechanism of lying down and putting the book on your face there is not much given to us about the jumping. I hate it when an author has a concept, especially a potentially good concept and then the execution is poor. I understand that I will never have all the info or answers I want for things like this, and I don't always need them...I just want a concept to make sense. Since the book jumping was such a huge part of the book, I don't feel like I am wrong in wanting to know how it actually works.
Books About Getting Into Books - I have not yet found a book that has successfully executed a concept where characters from the real world can get into book worlds. I have read some great ones that deal with elements of books in the real world, or authors or things like that, but anytime I read about a character actually getting into Wonderland, or Neverland, or Pemberly...it just does not work for me. I think it's cause for me a good book world is complete and personal to the reader. If you asked me to draw, or describe Pemberly and then you asked my baby sis to do the same thing, I bet you would come up with two equally valid, yet very different pictures. So when an author tries to put a character into that world it infringes on my view of the world. As for my own personal self, I'm always torn. If I had the opportunity would I want to jump into a literary world, or is the bigger appeal the fact that I am completely outside of it? Ok this is getting very philosophical and may require it's own post.
Fictional Father - After all of my mehness about the book...I have to admit I kind of liked the idea that Amy had a father that was a fictional character. Aside from the zillions of questions it brings forth, it also had the added advantage of me paring up literary characters and wondering what their offspring would be like. I may have also had some literary fantasy's on which literary crush I would allow to father my fictional kids...
Overall Impression - Overall I feel pretty meh about the whole book. It seemed to have a ton of stuff in it without really going anywhere. There were moments of awesome and the concept was pretty cool, but the overall muddledness, lack of info and too many literary pet peeves made this book disappointing. I feel that it had a lot of potential and if this author exports any other books over the pond, I will probably give her another chance 'cause I feel like she has good ideas. I give this book 5 out of 10 inkpots and realize that other people enjoyed it more then I did which is also awesome. Also the book cover is worth it just to have on my book shelf. Happy Reading Everybody!