3 out of 4 stars
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In a bid to regain some control of her life followed by her determination to become a doer, Lydia meticulously lays out her plans of doing. She follows through when she lures one of the small town’s supermarket employees who she had been stalking into a secluded area behind it. As soon as they’re alone, she puts him at gunpoint. The situation quickly escalates when the man loses patience and a fiery exchange of words leads to a standoff between the two. What will Lydia do now that she’s losing control once again? What exactly about the man triggered her to hold him hostage in the first place? Lastly, how will she get out of the mess she created by holding a person hostage under duress?
I Am Not Gog by Matthew James Hunt is a work of fiction that follows the account of a woman driven to insanity by a chain of unfortunate events. The narrative gives readers an intimate understanding of the woman’s state of mind as she shares stories of her inner struggles and demons, troubles accepting love, losing oneself and self-discovery, and her battle to break free from the brokenness that keeps her shackled to the past.
The novel began with the first-person narrator in a contemplative state. I liked this arrangement because it gave context to what the character did next as well as some of her motivations. As intriguing as the first few pages were, the story actually became more compelling when Lydia stepped out of her house and began to encounter other people. I appreciated the effortless humor and sarcasm that were cleverly woven in some of the dialogues Lydia shared with other characters. The more serious interactions were just as entertaining, but more than a few were suspenseful and filled with tension, which made the book even more of a thrill to read.
Set in England, Hunt’s considerable skill with descriptions transported me to the number of places visited by the main character. The author also captured the essence of some of the characters naturally as breathing. I liked how in one scene, one of the characters’ mirrored the sheer terror and rollercoaster of emotions I imagined I would experience if I were in her shoes at the very moment. In addition to the well-drawn batch of interesting characters, the plot took a few unanticipated twists and turns that further drew me into the happenings and kept me engaged in the characters’ lives.
Given how much I’d enjoyed the book, I could feel the tension rising within as I held my breath in anticipation for what would happen next. However, the ending left me feeling as though I had expected too much of it. But then again, when I considered one of the book’s recurring themes, I thought part of the ending made sense. Unfortunately, there were also parts that I didn't find entirely believable.
Lydia’s wistful, honest, and sometimes painful narration came through as authentic. I loved the reflective mood of her voice and the thought-provoking and meaningful statements she’d often make. I really wanted to award this well-written novel 4-stars. However, the ending left a lot to be desired, which is why I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The story does contain one graphic but brief mature scene that is suitable for a mature audience. I recommend this novel to those looking for an intriguing read.
I Am Not Gog
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