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Book Notes: Black Painted Fingernails by Steven Herrick

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A Written Rhapsody: Book Notes: Black Painted Fingernails by Steven Herrick

Monday, August 29, 2011

Book Notes: Black Painted Fingernails by Steven Herrick

"How about we toss a coin? Heads, it's west and a lift. Tails, it's still west, but no lift.'James is heading into the country on his first teacher-training round when a mysterious girl asks him for a ride. Sophie has him all worked out: 'You live with your parents and they bought you this car, and a very nice car it is too...' At first James can't see past her wild hair and attitude, but then Sophie trusts him with a secret she's been keeping too long.Steven Herrick masterfully reveals the essence of his characters in this tough and tender story about opening up to love and living a life that's true. Black Painted Fingernails is a captivating novel by the author of By the River and other popular, award-winning books."

This book was not for me, though I don't think it was a bad book. The characters were relatable with James, a man finally leaving the nest and Sophie, a somewhat wild and rebellious girl who lives her life on her own terms. However, I can't say I ever really liked either of them. They were just there. That's how the whole book was for me. I never felt like I was enjoying or hating it, it was just something to pass the time with. 

Having the author also write with more of an Australian culture made the story as a whole a little less grasping for me. There were a few terms here and there that I wouldn't understand and it would have me pull away from the story. Though the alternating chapters were nice, I didn't feel as though I had a good bearing on who James was as a character since he was always shown in the present. Also, I felt the handful of chapters in his parents perspective were unnecessary and took away from the flow of the book. Sophie, though confident and probably the most well-developed character in the story, had a lot of back stories where I kept feeling unsure about why Herrick bothered to even mention it. 

Overall, I never felt the characters really grow through the book, they more just changed suddenly, like magic. This book was a slow read for me and just left me frustrated that it wasn't ending so I could move on to something more interesting.

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