30 December 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Swallow by Tonya Plank

When asked to review this one, I was very intrigued by the description. The idea that someone cannot swallow food is beyond my overweight brain’s ability to understand. *laughing* Seriously, though… it’s a very real and very scary condition and the book did make me go look up stuff about it because it really does sound horrible.

The writing is excellent. The author’s narrative voice is outstanding. I think the downfall comes with the dialogue. It’s a bit stilted and at times I felt like I had no idea what was going on. If Sophie said “um” or “ah” one more time, I swear, I was going to jump through my kindle screen and REALLY give her a problem swallowing/breathing. Dude, SPEAK. That’s why the author is giving you a voice. Use it. In that same vein, I had a hard time believing in the character. She was a Yale grad with all these credentials, yet she seemed like a big old mess. That’s not to say that I think she should have been perfect, but there were several times that I just found myself not believing her at all. Personally, I was fine with her being meek and a little left of center, but professionally, I felt with her kind of education and training, she should have been a little less ditzy. Having said that, the descriptions of what Sophie was going through during her swallowing episodes rings very true (and made me get a bit of a lump in my throat I had to swallow down too!)

I did, however, really like the storyline. I even enjoyed the odd relationships she had and how she managed to untangle herself into her true self and less of someone else’s possession. I especially enjoyed how the author wove her relationship with her father, his career and his downright self-centered-ness. The secondary character development in this book is so outstanding that it makes the entire book worth reading – right down to the very last “um”.

Overall, I’d recommend this to people that enjoy heavier chick-lit. It’s definitely chick-lit, but seems to be a sub-genre I’ve seen lately that comes with a bit of a message and might make you learn something.

Sophie Hegel is a shy New York lawyer who hails from small-town Florence Arizona, known not for the Renaissance but for housing a large prison. She’s just graduated from Yale Law School and landed her first job when, one evening, during dinner with her fiancĂ©, she feels a fist-like ball form at the base of her throat. A form of the psychological condition Globus Sensate, this “fist-ball” wreaks havoc on her life, causing her difficulty eating, speaking, and eventually even breathing. With a cast of characters that includes a pornographer father, a sister with a knack for getting knocked up by denizens of the town pen, a painter of male nudes, an eccentric Sing Sing-residing client, a tough-talking fashion maven and a bevy of privileged Manhattan lawyers and judges, Swallow is a dark comedy about the distance that can separate fathers and daughters, and about a young woman’s struggle to survive in a world of pedigreed professionals for which she has no preparation.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Book count for 2010: 99

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