Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nora Roberts ~ "The Witness"

The Witness
When Dr. Susan L. Fitch - a chief of surgery, no less - decided to have a child, her approach to that problem was identical to her personality - clinical, thorough, efficient and emotionless. She found the perfect donor, and from day one made her daughter into another successful experiment. So Elizabeth Fitch (satisfactory physical condition, pleasant yet not quite sufficiently beautiful, and with IQ around 210) grew up in a controlled environment, with big plans to fulfill and another's steps to follow.
The only detail that went wrong (before the point when Elizabeth decided she wants her own life, not her mother's idea of it) is the fact that Dr. Susan L. Fitch did not realize she is absolutely incapable of love - not for her child or anything else there is in life.

So, just in case you're still wondering - yes, this is the scariest, and at the same time the grossest, type of person there is. For me, at least. Cold, calculating, God-playing, never wrong, schedule-living, robot-like, ice instead of heart, creepy, disgusting bitch.
There. I already feel so much better.

"Elizabeth Fitch's short-lived teenage rebellion began with L'Oreal Pure Black, a pair of scissors, and a fake ID. It ended in blood..."
This is, by far, the best description this book could have. When Elizabeth finally decided to rebel, she did a thorough job. That one act changed her life for good. But, even the events that followed seemed like an improvement compared to the life that was waiting for her, orchestrated by her mother. I guess that says it all...

As much as I liked Liz (poor kid), Abigail - at the beginning, at least - seemed too much like infamous Dr. Susan. And, that just kept me irritated enough not to like her in the least. Abigail Lowery is a genius. Eidetic memory, wast interests, numerous skills, my-dog-learned-commands-in-five-languages genius.

Anyway, Abigail is a loner by choice, has no idea how to properly interact, and so when chief of police Brooks Gleason starts coming by - well, she's not amused. He's an easy going, sweet, funny guy. He's... oh, hell, just too sweet.

What I'm trying to say is this...
Technically, this is an excellent book. Those first 200 pages are perfect. Abigail's character is superbly done. The way she acts, talks, those awkward, encyclopedia-like lines she uses, the way she's stumbling through social interactions... It couldn't be any better.

The things that didn't exactly work for me, though, are these:
After those first 200 pages or so, the book just felt a whole lot different. Not-quite-as-good different.
Abigail went from paranoid to trusting in two easy steps. Was she suppose to just let go after twelve years of running and trusting no one? To tell you the truth - I didn't think so. It should have been a real issue for her - trusting a man, that is a police chief of all things. To simply let go, and confess it all, two weeks after he talked to her for the first time? Highly unlikely.

Again, there was that "detached" feeling I sometimes have. Couldn't, for the life of me, believe Abigail really does feel the emotions she's talking about. I needed something more. And Brooks... yes, he's a great guy. A lot like John. But, I loved John. And I liked Brooks. Didn't love him as much.

The suspense part? I was expecting something rather dramatic. 757 pages worth of waiting for it. What happened there? It was done without a hiccup! Nothing. Nada. Zilch. So smoothly, so perfectly executed, I was thoroughly disappointed. I mean, every single step was just as planned. Come on... you can be a genius all you like, but I didn't buy that. Sadly, I was kinda hoping for something... more intense.

So, yes, technically everything is great. Only not for me. And I'm really sorry that's the case here. Still, this book deserves a chance. Don't let me discourage you.

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