The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larson by Susin Nielson
Release Date ~ September 11, 2012
Tundra Books ~ Random House Canada
ARC recieved from publisher for review
Darker than her previous novels, Susin peoples this novel about the ultimate cost of bullying with a cast of fabulous characters, dark humour, and a lovable, difficult protagonist struggling to come to terms with the horrible crime his brother has committed.
As many of you know, unlike Brenna, I really like books that are written in the form of journals. There's just something about being able to read what someone is taking the time to write down, that just makes me feel a major connection to the protagonist. I feel like they're telling me all of these secrets and thoughts that they have. Anyways, I was excited when I was given this book to read, because I do love journals. This book did not fail to satisfy my expectations.
- Comedic Scenes:
I think that this novel did a really good job of juggling both angst and humour. There were many things that made me smile, and even chuckle a bit at some parts. There is a lot of heavy stuff in this book, and the comedy helped to lighten the mood a bit. I did not find any of it to be inappropriate for the time, though. I thought that where a funny scene was, it fit, and did not diminish the situation in any way.
- Sad Undertones:
On the other side of the spectrum, there are the really sad undertones in this novel. Even when an entry is not explicitly sad, there's this incredibly melancholy undertone to it. It really made me feel for the protagonist. I was really grateful for the comedy in the book, because the whole situation is really sad. At the same time, though, there's not so many sad things happening to make it ridiculous. The story line is very realistic, which makes it that much more sad.
- Likable Characters to Relate to:
Usually in all books, there will be one particular character that I absolutely despite. That wasn't the case in this book, though. I genuinely like all of the characters that were introduced. The way they all acted and responded to things was very understandable, so I found myself being able to relate them. Having good characters is crucial in an enjoyable book.
- Strong Theme:
One of the main themes in this book is bullying, and the effects that it has on people. I think that this theme was handled really well, and wasn't undermined at all. At the same time though, it wasn't preachy about it, so it didn't feel repetititve. I thought that the author did a great job at exploring the worst case scenario.