Sunday, March 25, 2018

Book Review: Peach

Title: Peach 
Author: Emma Glass
Genre: Contemporary Teen
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars 

I’ve been thinking for a couple of days about how to describe why I felt like this was a whole lot of nope book. I finished Peach because it is very short and I really didn’t want to hate it. I kept waiting for it to have a moment of true emotional connection or a brilliant moment but it never gave. 

The Topic
Peach is about a teen girl who is raped. An obvious difficult and important topic to accurately portray. Unlike books, like Long Way Down, there is zero literary finesse to Peach. Instead of taking a tough topic and breaking it down to hit all the right emotional cues, Emma Glass takes rape and throws it in your face... 

Shock Rock
Those of you who remember the original shock rock stars like Alice Cooper, Ozzy Ozbourne or the later 90s versions like Marilyn Manson and Gwar will maybe know what I mean by this. It’s like Peach is a shock book. (Not near as catchy as shock rock, I know). 

So, what’s a shock book (and yes I just made this up)?
Glass takes a disturbing, shocking, uncomfortable topic and throws it in your face. She shoves it down your throat, or otherwise tries to make you stumble back hoping you will be disturbed, disgusted or terrified. The thing about this tactic these days is it generally has less effect on the reader than a carefully crafted, emotionally charged and passionate literary story. Gruesome, descriptive and downright gross just doesn’t make me want to do anything other than put the a book down. 
In our desensitized world brutal descriptions just don’t evict emotions other than disgust or perhaps even a lack of connection due to constant barrage of media like this. 

Past the Introduction
Had the opening chapters been graphic and the rest of our story well written I likely would have  understood the intent of the shocking opening. But this is not how Peach goes. 
Instead it continues into a realm of bizarre, and frankly annoying, rhetoric by our lead gal. I almost never felt bad for her and instead just wanted to yell at her to be smarter or less of a narcissist. I never really connected to our lead gal and found myself, (obviously incorrectly) judging her a lot; which is definitely not how we should feel about an abused teen girl. 

An Example of Poor Emotional Content
I know what you’re thinking... ‘Mel how dare you blame the sexually assaulted girl, do you lack sympathy’? But this is honestly how poorly the situation, and our lead gals emotions and feelings were portrayed. I felt like I wanted to scream at her to be less dumb and annoying. Not because what was written wasn’t perhaps totally true to a sexual assault victims thoughts, motivations or experience; but because it was written so poorly I just didn’t have any connection with this gal. And don’t even start me on her weird bloated stomach and whatever symbolism it was supposed to have. I can’t even express how dumb I found it by the end of the story. 

A truly good book about a tough topic will make you feel like the character does. It will evict an understanding and emotion in you that you’ve maybe never felt before. Sadly Peach misses on all cues. 

Reading a book like Long Way Down (also a short story), where a character I have nothing in common with (black male teen in a low end neighbourhood), can evoke an emotional and mental response from me, means I know it can be done.
I did have some emotions by the end of Peach; but they were disappointment in the quality of story and major annoyance at the continuing use of shock writing. 

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

1 comment:

Leonore Winterer said...

Eek :/ If I were to compose a list of things I don't enjoy having thrown at my face, I think rape would range very high on that (probably very long) list. Does not sound like a pleasant read at all! I get that's probably not what the author was aiming for, but still.