Should Your Book Club Read Schroder by Amity Gaige?

Hmm…well, this is a quick read, and it’s one that book clubs will enjoy.  I will not be choosing it for my Literary Masters book groups, however.    I would recommend taking this novel to the beach or on an airplane, though–it’s a compelling read.  The story is narrated by Schroder, aka Kennedy, who is writing some sort of apologia to his ex-wife (for one) because he kidnapped their daughter.

Here’s what I liked about it: it was, as I said, a quick read, one I didn’t have to exert too much brain power for, and I was in the mood for just that.  Yes, it’s definitely a page-turner.  I wanted to find out how reliable the narrator Schroder/Kennedy is.  I wondered if we had a Humbert Humbert on our hands.  The narrator in this instance admits to his duplicity up front.  Hmm…is he believable?  Is he forgivable

I liked that I really entered the head of Schroder/Kennedy.  I think the author does a good job there.  And I felt his love for his daughter, and hers for him.

Here’s what I would have liked more of: the bit about silences and pauses, and poetic reversals.  I think she could have fleshed this out much, much more and developed a much more literary novel.

I wish I knew more about Schroder’s childhood and relationship with his parents.  Although the author touches on the narrator’s background, she doesn’t give enough information to fully or convincingly explain the psychological reasons for what he is doing. 

I wish I knew more about Schroder/Kennedy’s relationship with his ex-wife.  Again, we get a bit of that, but much more would have illuminated the motives of the narrator/kidnapper and would have gotten this reader, at least, more invested in the story.  We don’t get her perspective at all–or minimally, anyway–so the story feels rather flat.

I think the author has the bones of a great novel here, but I don’t think she layered those bones with enough muscle, sinew, and flesh to make it a literary book.  I feel like when I try to “dig deep,” I hit the skeleton pretty quickly, and that is that–on to the next book.

I do love the name Amity Gaige, though. 

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