Official Review: The Corn Husk Experiment by Andrea Cale

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BookishCreature
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Official Review: The Corn Husk Experiment by Andrea Cale

Post by BookishCreature » 28 Jan 2018, 23:03

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Corn Husk Experiment" by Andrea Cale.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Andrea Cale’s The Corn Husk Experiment follows five very different characters: there’s Henry, a young boy bullied into shyness; Maxine, a photographer struggling with the loneliness she’s resigned herself to; Caroline, a dancer with a troubled past she never speaks of; JP, an athlete trying to find his own identity; and Devin, a young man trying to atone for the failures of his family. Despite their differences, they’re all facing the same battle – overcoming the conflict that defines them to break free of the limitations they’ve placed upon themselves.

The Corn Husk Experiment is a stunning debut and a wonderful piece of literary fiction, and I rate it 4 out of 4 stars.

I love books that let me see the world through the eyes of a character who is very different from myself, and on that front, The Corn Husk Experiment delivered five times over. The whole cast was relatable, and I had nothing but empathy for Henry’s embarrassment over his schoolmates’ teasing, and for Caroline’s secret guilt and the relief she found in dancing. Even their flaws were relatable – Maxine’s perfectionism, Devin’s arrogance – and those flaws made them even more three-dimensional and human.

Their individual journeys were crafted with just as much care. The narration is third-person omniscient, which means that you have a sort of birds’-eye view of the path each character takes through life and the multitude of factors and people that affect them. Not only do you get to learn about Henry’s personal history, for instance, but you get to learn about his mom, his now-absent father, his grandmother, and his favorite teacher. All of these stories come together to give you an incredible insight into Henry himself – and, of course, the other four main characters get the same treatment.

It would seem like there are far too many players to keep track of in this book, but Cale does a wonderful job of sketching all these interconnected lives in a way that gives just enough detail without overloading the reader. The result is that you feel as though you really know these wounded and lovable characters, and it makes their storylines carry even more emotional impact.

If I have one complaint about this novel, it’s about the title and synopsis. My first impression was that the characters were going to face an actual experiment – a trial of some sort – but that couldn’t be further from the plotline. The synopsis doesn’t do anything to clear up the confusion. The title does make sense once you get most of the way through the book (and it’s a lovely metaphor in that context), but I feel like it’s a little misleading.

That said, it didn’t bother me enough to stop me from enthusiastically recommending this well-written and uplifting novel to anyone who loves sinking into a really lovable character – or five.

******
The Corn Husk Experiment
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kandscreeley
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Post by kandscreeley » 03 Feb 2018, 14:24

I saw this one, and I couldn't quite tell about it from the synopsis either. It seemed very unclear to me. Thanks so much for clearing everything up. Nice review.
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Post by BookishCreature » 03 Feb 2018, 19:48

Thank you! I thought it was going to be very different going in, but luckily the actual story was still enjoyable. :)

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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 03 Feb 2018, 23:24

The helicopter view about the characters seem very impressive! I like the idea of the realistic touch given by the author and the sketch seem pretty good according to your account, and also you really cannot tell a book by its synopsis, that's like judging a book by its cover. Five different characters met at a junction shares same situation in a different angle. I would love to give it a shot! Thanks for the details!
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Post by Roggyrus » 04 Feb 2018, 23:09

Thanks for your interesting review. I gather that this book regales from the various characters herein employed, with their differences and idiosyncrasies enriching the narrative. The life-like portrayal of each one of them lends to the interesting combination of flavors for the stew cooked up by the storyline. This is an entertaining and engrossing read.

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Post by issi242 » 05 Feb 2018, 10:30

Initially I felt five characters is a lot to take on and wondered if the reader didn't bond with some more than others but you showed in your review that it works really well. It sounds like a really interesting read. Thank you for your review.

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Post by ashley_claire » 06 Feb 2018, 09:53

I also clicked on this review expecting a very different kind of book so I can understand the confusion with the title. I'm glad you were still able to enjoy the story anyway. I like reading about multiple characters and it seems like the author does a great job of letting each one shine. Thanks for the review.

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Post by prettysmart » 03 Mar 2018, 15:58

The character behind Maxine and JP pretty much sums up my personality or my conflict that am trying to conquer....Lovely review!

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