Sunday, August 5, 2012
Lucretia and the Kroons by Victor LaValle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was sent an invite from Random House to download a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.
This book is fairly fast-paced and drew me right in. I sped through reading it, and it's a quick-read due to writing style, intrigue, and novella length.
I found it to be enjoyable, and perfect for something quick and easy to read. The story isn't very graphic, and I'm not sure what the age group is for it, but I'm guessing perhaps a teen book.
The main character is 12 years old, and is attempting to cope with her best friend who is dying from cancer. It is an interesting look into a middle-schooler's life in Queens NY. It's not written too seriously, so you can tell it's going to be a bit odd, once you get going with it. All in all, it's a rather bizarre tale, that makes sense at the end once you realize that her trip down the rabbit hole is due to Lucretia's mental illness.
I felt that the ending describing her mental illness as the cause of this weird journey to an alternate world from apartment 6A, could have been much longer, and told much more of a story. I got a little distracted by all the action happening once Lucretia entered the alternate world park. Some parts were hard for me to visualize, and it seemed long in comparison to the more interesting part of WHY she was having this journey. A bigger focus on her mental illness would have been more intriguing to me, but it wasn't the focus of this story. Lucretia meeting these mysterious Kroons was the focus.
After getting to the end, I was happy to find out that there was a reason for her suddenly screaming "Whores!" at her friends and sending them away, her dressing up like a 6 year old at her 12 year old birthday party, and her general oddity. Exploring this aspect in more detail, even in a short story, would have been awesome, in my opinion.
Something that bothered me, besides the too-quick wrap-up at the end of the story, was her alternate world imaginings being explained as being bipolar. It sounds more like schizophrenia to me, but I'm not an expert. I just think it sounds a little off as a reason for her behavior, and it's always hard for me to buy into a story that seems like it has facts that don't match up.
Overall, it was a good read. The author has a great imagination, and it was well-written. I could see this as an episode of Twilight Zone or some odd mini-series. Kind of gave me that early Stephen King feeling.
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