3 out of 4 stars
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Our story opens on a rather odd, in-depth description of a doll that, for lack of a better explanation, has seen better days. It is riding along in a vehicle. This description leads unsteadily into the conversation taking place in the vehicle, in which it is asked of one of the characters, Mateo, what actually happened to his aunt Luciana. The story then switches to the life story of Luciana. This introduction to the main tale seems malformed and abrupt at best. I quickly put the unsettling transition out of my head and easily gained interest in the main character’s story, though. It becomes dramatic almost immediately and grabs the reader’s attention. The author uses semi-staccato sentences and simple language, while weaving in and out of Spanish. However, even if you are unfamiliar with the Spanish vocabulary, don’t worry. The author also provides a handy section in the back that translates it all for those of us that are unfamiliar with the language.
The author seems to have a strange habit of being too descriptive about things that aren’t exactly important to the story, while not explaining things one might actually want to know for the story. Because of this, Luciana’s personal tale skips around a bit which, at least in my opinion, is a bit irritating. Keifer will skip years of her life without describing how we came to that point, but describe in excruciating detail the things going on in the news at the time. This is my least favorite thing about the book, personally.
This is not to say that I did not enjoy the book. At times, I admit that I wondered exactly what the purpose of the story was. It does, however, come together in the end and the journey to that point is enjoyable. The story itself made me feel an array of emotions, as well as giving me a look into the life of a people I was previously unfamiliar with. It also taught me some Spanish words and phrases, which is a fun bonus.
I can’t quite put my finger on a specific part of the book that I would call my favorite. If I had to guess, I would say the dream sequences, which are throughout The Ordinary Doll. They seem in contrast to the rest of the tale in a most spectacular way. They are actually quite creepy and something I can actually relate with, as I’ve had some similar dreams. They are vividly eerie.
I would gladly recommend The Ordinary Doll, even with the aforementioned problems that I found with Keifer’s style. It is a quick and easy read, while still being able to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. There were minimal mistakes in grammar and spelling. I would rate this book 3 out of 4. I struggled a bit with my rating and almost rated it a two because of the problems I had with the book. However, I enjoyed the story so much that I truly felt that it was deserving of the three. Kudos to Mario Keifer and The Ordinary Doll.
The Ordinary Doll
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