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In This Way I Was Saved: A Novel

1 rating: -1.0
A book by Brian DeLeeuw

DeLeeuw's spellbinding debut is told from the point of view of a being who assumes the persona and desires of a boy's repressed self. The mysterious narrator encounters six-year-old Luke in Central Park, where Luke gives him a life and a name, Daniel. … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Brian DeLeeuw
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
1 review about In This Way I Was Saved: A Novel

Very, very disappointing

  • Jul 10, 2009
Rating:
-1
Simon & Schuster, what were you thinking?

If you've read my reviews before, you know that I rarely post a negative review. But for the sake of us all--readers, writer, publisher--I have to do so on this book.

I requested In This Way I Was Saved to review because I was intrigued by the alleged premise. And who can resist this opening line? "I enter the lobby of Claire Nightingale's apartment building, here to tell her I have murdered her only son." Brilliant, isn't it? The novel begins with such promise. "Luke" is our protagonist and "Daniel" is his doppelganger, his 'other,' his additional personality, the bad angel on his shoulder who shouldn't be allowed near the family dog. So perhaps we think this story might lead us into a struggle of good vs. evil, or at least good intentions over bad. Um, no. Perhaps it will define "sanity" vs. "insanity." No again. It is not a "descent into madness" as another reviewer has characterized it. Luke does not descend. Neither does he ascend. He simply stumbles & mumbles along as the years progress, mocked by Daniel for his weakness in some parts, able to (almost) completely overthrow him in others--with no explanation as to why, on any particular day, he has all control/no control over the voice in his head. Or next to him. Or wherever Daniel is supposed to be, as that is never clearly defined. Actually, nothing is ever clearly defined in this novel, and the story is replete with inconsistencies. (On pg. 5, Daniel tells us, "I stood up and stamped feeling back into my legs, still amazed at the brittleness of my new body" because previously he's been somewhere outside Luke's body, unable to feel things--except, of course, when he can, for example on pg. 270: "I found Luke beside me by touch....") And, if I can just ask the 'emperor's-not-wearing-any-clothes question, what is the point of this novel? It seems there is the novelty of writing from the perspective of the 'other' and not much else; there certainly is no plot here, very little character development, and no attempt at all to address any life issues, other than 'don't trust your imaginary friend, as one reviewer suggested.

Who made the decision to publish this disappointing novel? Here is what I suspect: That DeLeeuw's agent read the first chapter and fell in love with the writing, as I did, and then shopped the manuscript before it was finished to S&S, who said yes based on those first pages. What a shame. They've done a disservice to Mr. DeLeeuw, who should have been told, 'You've got the gift, kid, now go find yourself a decent plot and write a real novel.' I hope he will someday, just to redeem himself.

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