Author: Christopher J. Yates
Published: January 9, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 1-15, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 1 star
Book Description from Amazon:
The year is 1982; the setting, an Edenic hamlet some ninety miles north of New York City. There, among the craggy rock cliffs and glacial ponds of timeworn mountains, three friends—Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah—are bound together by a terrible and seemingly senseless crime. Twenty-six years later, in New York City, living lives their younger selves never could have predicted, the three meet again—with even more devastating results.
Here is a triple helix of a story structure, a sharp-edged love triangle complete with an Atonement style revelation. Character-driven, gorgeously written and wrenching, it exposes the poisonous resentments, sexual longings, and reservoirs of violence that roil just below the orderly surface of small town life.
Grist Mill Road was a book that was not a good fit for me. The premise was strong and promised to be one I would not want to put down. In actuality, it was anything but that. I will try to review as best I can without giving away spoilers.
The opening shows the true horror of a crime that occurs that involves children. Remember this fact. Our protagonists Patch, Hannah, and Matthew are a young ‘twelve’, thirteen, and an ‘older’ fourteen years old. The crime is barbaric and it is described from the first line that you won’t forget.
There are two time periods in Grist Mill Road: 1982 and 2008.I found the 1982 time period more thought provoking than the 2008 time period. I also found myself losing interest in the middle of the novel. What kept me reading was wanting to find out the motive of this crime. The crime is a very heinous one and ultimately not forgivable. Yates tried to make us feel empathetic for the guilty party based on other things done to this person, but he was not successful. I understood the pain the person felt, but I felt no empathy. The crime is too extreme and there was nothing redeeming in this novel for me.
There are many themes including secrets and trust which becomes very important in 2008. I felt like I did not get to know Hannah well in her narrations as the main focus seemed to be her partner. I wanted to get to know more about Hannah.
The biggest difficulty for me with Grist Mill Road was the lack of quotation marks. They are not used in the entire book. This made it difficult to distinguish who was talking. It became distracting for me.
I wanted to like this book, but sadly this was not the case. I would like to thank the publisher Picador for my copy I was granted. I wish I could give a positive review. I would be willing to give Yates another chance and read his first novel Black Chalk.
I would like to say that I love the cover of Grist Mill Road! It is perfect for this novel. It is so simplistic, yet accomplishes what it needs.