3 out of 4 stars
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Families can be quite complex. Not many resemble Leave it to Beaver. In fact, I would say most families these days would qualify as dysfunctional; I know mine sure would. In What Remains Unsaid, Audrey Kalman takes a psychological excursion into the family unit.
Sean doesn't feel like his mother has paid attention to him, but he has her attention now. She'll listen to him with the gun pointing at her head. After all, they have a lot to catch up on, a lot to talk about.
What Remains Unsaid is a little over 250 pages and is classified as a psychological thriller. While the aspect of holding his mother at gunpoint might be somewhat thrilling, I would more place this into the literary fiction genre. After the shock of a man taking his mom hostage, the pace is somewhat slower as we explore the depth of their relationships.
The characters are incredibly life-like and realistic. In fact, the book is more character-driven than plot-driven. Sean obviously demands the most attention as he points the gun, but we learn much about his mother and her friends, his father and his wife. The reader is able to get a full view of his life and what might have led to the situation that he is now in. Interestingly enough, there is almost more about the secondary characters than the primary character himself. To me, that kept the book from being boring. As you learn more about those around him, you have to piece together the puzzle named Sean yourself. This kept me engaged throughout the story even though it wasn't what you would call action-packed.
Unfortunately, I don't believe this book was professionally edited for a number of reasons. First, the author tries to write this book in the present tense. This is a good way to create more suspense in the narrative, but it is not entirely successful. When the author flashes back to the past, the story is then told in the past tense. That by itself would be fine. However, in the present, the author often slips back and forth between the past and the present tense. There was no consistency which pulled me out of the story. There were, also, a number of grammatical errors throughout the text. Some of the errors were the typical missing or misspelled word, but the author sometimes changed the point of view. Several times, the narrative slipped from third person to second person or first person. All of this could easily be fixed by a good editor.
I rate What Remains Unsaid 3 out of 4 stars due to the lack of professional editing. While the story was slower in pace, I enjoyed the enigma of the situation between Sean and his mother. The puzzling out of the characters made the book unique, interesting and well worth reading. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good character-driven story but not necessarily traditional lovers of psychological thrillers.
What Remains Unsaid
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