Saturday, 5 July 2014

Jeanne's Review of A Season Without Rain by Joe Schwartz

Title: A Season Without Rain
Author: Joe Schwartz
Genre: General Fiction
Length: 348 pages
Release Date: November 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1493513390
Imprint: Enigma Press

Jacob Miller is angry with himself, the world, and God. Life seems so unfair, so cruel, that he can’t imagine why anyone even tries. After having a nervous breakdown, selling his business, filing for bankruptcy, having a baby, and finding out he owes over twenty grand in taxes, he is hardly happy to be alive.

In the span of a year, Jacob will discover three very important things about life. Things can always be worse. There really is a God. And if you wait long enough anything can change.

A Season Without Rain explores that gray area between poverty and middle class life, the struggling underclass for whom there are no advocates. A powerful story told in a modern, everyday voice that will entrench readers in Jacob Miller’s black world of anger, hate, resentment, lies, and violence.

A Season Without Rain is Joe Schwartz’s first novel. His previous short story collections Joe’s Black T-Shirt, The Games Men Play, and The Veiled Prophet of St. Louis have been acclaimed vulgar as Bukowski and visceral as Carver. Joe lives and works in St. Louis happily writing stories exclusively about the Gateway City.

A St. Louis native, I write exclusively about the Gateway City. I prefer the style of fiction deemed transgressive fiction. That is my stories protagonists generally find a solution to their problems through either illicit or illegal means. I personally prefer stories told through a criminal's point-of-view. It is never the crime that fascinates me so much as the motivation to do it and the terrible, almost predictable outcomes to such actions. Just as I have an expectation of writing to be read I believe that it is as important, if not more so, that you as a reader should have the expectation of being entertained as you read. Anything less is such a disappointment.

Life is short. Stories are forever. -Joe

I wish I could say that I got lost in the characters of this book, but sadly, that wasn't the case for me. Jacob Miller is your everyday guy, living an everyday life, but he's been thrown a few curve balls and carries around a lot of anger over his imperfect life. So much anger, in fact, that I often struggled to connect with him as a character. The writing was good, but over-extensive descriptions of people, places, and things bogged down the storyline for me. This book read more like a mémoire than a work of fiction.

The major plus for me in this book was the author's ability to highlight the emotions of the character. I might not have connected with Jacob on the personal level as I would have liked, but I can't deny that his emotional state affected me. Jacob struggles with his faith in God, something I think we've all felt at least once in our lives. His sadness, his anger, his despair, are all beautifully displayed, leaving a reader aching along with Jacob.

Overall, I give this book three honey pots. A Season Without Rain is a direct reflection of humanity at its highs and lows. In the end, it leaves a person with something to think about concerning faith and life in general, making it worth reading.


No comments:

Post a Comment