Tag Archives: anticipation

Book Review: What It Was Like by Peter Seth

What It Was Like (click on book or see below for description)
By Peter Seth
Releases 9/2/14
Downloaded free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 3 bones

Finish Time:  5 nights.  This book had me up late turning pages in antici………..pation!  The build up for this book was ridiculous.  The description on the back (and see below) and first few pages of the book set it up and there are teasers throughout about this “big unknown” event, and until it happens, it’s really hard to guess.  (Also see another quote I featured in my Teaser Tuesday this week too!)  I had a few guesses throughout, some were on the right track, others way off, but I had no idea what and when it was coming.  Seriously, when I finally had to put it down at night, I’d dream (or have nightmares) about what happens.  This book creeped me out and stuck with me in a way like none other.

The crazy part is – we never learn the narrator’s name.  It’s told 100% from his point of view (similar to another book I just finished).  A recent high school graduate working at a summer camp then beginning college in New York City at Columbia University.  A classic tale of boy meets girl, they fall in love, and their love makes them do crazy things.  Ok maybe not so classic, but it’s been told before, just not like this.  I did a Google search to confirm this is fiction, the way it reads, I’d believe you if you told me it was a true story.  The author had me believing this really happened and was buried in sealed case files until now.

During my search, I uncovered the website for this book which provides more information on Who’s Who and what happened on this day in 1968-69 (the year in which the events of this book took place.)  It’s a fun little supplement to the book, which I always enjoy.  But back to the story.  I toyed with 3 v. 4 bones for my rating.  I enjoyed reading the book and it kept me frantically turning pages, but I was turning those pages for quite some time to get to the meat of it, which finally happened at about 2/3rds of the way in.  As I mentioned in the beginning of this review – the anticipation was killing me and maybe that was the point, but it frustrated me at times and messed with my head!  That first part was the set-up, probably a good year or two before the “big unknown,” which was fine, but just a bit too much.

Once the “big unknown,” finally happened or was happening, I became very uncomfortable and frustrated with the characters.  Not really a situation where I’d like to think “what would I do” but I guess one could say it would make them think just what they would do if there were ever in such a predicament.  Hopefully not what was chosen, no spoilers, the narrator begins the book from jail, so from that point on, you can confidently predict what will happen.  I would have liked more points of view or even excerpts from the trial to get others points of view, as I mentioned it was only from the narrator’s.

Overall depressing book.  Very well written.  Full of suspense and keeps you on your toes and guessing.  If it sounds like your style book, it’s worth your time.  I would definitely read this author again and am very impressed for a first book!

Thank you to NetGalley and The Story Plant for allowing me to preview!

Description from Amazon:

“It’s really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They’re right. I did some extremely foolish things; I’m the first to say it. And they’ve left me in jail and alone.”

So begins one of the most compelling, emotionally charged, and affecting novels you are likely to read this year.

It is the summer of 1968 and a young man takes a job at a camp in upstate New York before starting his first semester at Columbia University. There, he meets Rachel Price, a fellow counselor who is as beautiful as she is haunted. Their romance will burn with a passion neither of them has ever known before…a passion with the power to destroy.

In the tradition of Endless Love and Gone Girl, What it was Like is an intimate, raw, and revealing journey through the landscape of all-consuming love. It announces the debut of a remarkable storyteller.


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