Friday, April 27, 2018

Everything Solid Has a Shadow - Michael Antman

Summary: “Deeply touching” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Emotionally satisfying” —Kirkus Reviews
“A literary joy” —Readers’ Favorite 

Charlie Alessandro is a musician and a marketing executive who ought to be happily satisfied. He is successful in his career, involved with a sleek and confident woman, and enjoying a fulfilling creative outlet with his guitar. Yet his seemingly complete life is troubled at every turn by something dark that happened to him when he was very young. Everything Solid has a Shadow is an intricately plotted novel driven by two intertwined mysteries—his investigation of that long-ago occurrence and the mysterious apparition of a woman he barely knows who invades his brain as he sleeps. Charlie’s journey into these two mysteries, his relationship with three beautiful young women in his life, and the very surprising resolution, make for an eerie and absorbing tale. (Summary and pic from

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Review: You know those people that always insist on telling you their dreams and you’re thinking “WTF (why the fudge) are you telling me your dream? It makes no sense. I don’t care. I’ve never cared. Please never tell me again” but really you just sit there and wait for the whole debacle to be over? That is this book. It is one very self-centered dude who thinks he’s very special and so therefore tells everyone about his dreams. And his general other life failings. Let me back up.

There’s a story going on in this book—it’s the story of the life of the main character, Charlie. He had a traumatic event happen to him early in life, and it haunts him in many ways, as you might imagine a traumatic event would do. He seems to be pretty successful on the outside—he has a good job, he has a girlfriend, he has a hobby that he likes. But after being inside this man’s head for so many pages I just want to eye roll emoji all over the place because I'm thinking a little self-awareness would have gone a long way here.  I’m pretty sure this was not the author’s intention. Charlie is self-deprecating in the way that is annoyingly close to him actually thinking he’s more awesome than everyone in the whole world, even though he likes to act and tell everyone how he’s actually not. He manifests this by being a general twit all the time to pretty much All the People.  Many people don’t put up with it, but some do. He obviously believes he has some sort of magical juju, seeing as he goes around telling everyone his dreams and thinks they’re interesting enough for people to actually listen. And listen. And listen. Because, you see, he’s some kind of telepathic mind reader or psychic or something extra ordinary (as you might think a jerk would fancy himself). He believes a woman friend comes to speak to him like a dream—but it’s not a dream. It was actually the woman speaking to him psychically (she does not agree with this, by the way. I think she lets it slide so he’ll just stop being so weird). So much of this was just so strange and could just so annoyingly be that he is just imaging this that I felt sorry for the people in the story who were forced to listen to him tell about his weird dreams again and again. Except for the psychiatrist, who is paid for such shenanigans. I did like the weirdness of the psychiatrist. That was an entertaining twist. I do think that the psychic dreams could have had potential, but they just ended up feeling so circumstantial that it never really made that cross over into what could have actually been something paranormal. I think it just stopped at being coincidental.

I wanted to like the main character, I wanted to find his story interesting, and I just didn’t. I did think his back story had some promise, and the interlude that had to do with that was a fun sidebar. Maybe a male reader would find this character more appealing, because as a female reader it just pretty much confirmed what I think men with little to no self-awareness are actually like on the inside. So in that way, it was life-affirming.  

The writing of the book is decent, and that wasn’t the issue at all. This is obviously not Antman’s first whirl. I was pleased that the writing wasn’t also an issue. The book itself just really was not my thing.

My Rating: 2 Stars

For the sensitive reader: There is language and sex in this book.

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