The Little Snake by A.L. Kennedy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I clearly missed something in this book. I did not get it.
Obviously it's an allegory about life and circumstances in life but I just couldn't get into it. There may be one obvious issue that held me back here, and it's not the literary writing...
Personality of Snakes
I am a long time snake owner (10+ years). My husband and I have fostered over a dozen snakes over the years and had many of our own. Today we have 3 (an 18-yr-old cornsnake, a 4-yr-0ld ball python, a 4-yr-old boa) and so I intimately know that snakes have personalities, and they are all different. No one snake is the same as another.
While the snake is the star of A. L. Kennedy's book The Little Snake; what it's really missing is a feel for the snake. I wanted to love this snake (even if his purpose in the world is dark), I wanted to connect with him and feel alongside him. I believe you are meant to sympathize with the snake and connect with him. For me it fell flat.
There were too many weird descriptions of the way the snake moved, changed and otherwise interacted with the humans it encounters. Now, before you get all upset with me, yes I know it's a mythical talking snake; and yes I get that it's fiction. But imagine a book where a cat or dog is the lead character and where the descriptions of the animal don't match up to what you personally know about that type of animal. Say they describe a dog that can't swim or a cat that likes water; you'd be put off too right? This is the kind of feeling I got about the snake.
It seems to be a theme lately with literary books that they are seriously lacking in plot. Something needs to drive the story forward and I'm getting tired of it being 'just because time passes'. This is really not a good enough reason for me. Existing is not plot. Even though this is a short story I'd have liked to see there be more purpose given to our characters (including the snake) so that it felt like the story was propelling forward.
Honestly, this was sooo boring. Even if I hadn't disliked the snake characterization I don't think I'd have liked this book. It was just dull, predictable and all around boring. It's not an original idea necessarily, we have lots of literary fiction about learning about love or pursuing a life built off love. And so I wanted more from this. There are a few quotable lines for sure; but this feels like a book written just to bore some poor future high school students into trying to find minding behind the words. *yawn* I just don't want to work that hard. A book can be an analogy or allegory, written at a high literary standard and still be interesting and readable. Unfortunately, The Little Snake is not one of these.
The best part of this book is that it's short. So If you really want to read it (even if you end up hating it) not a lot of time is lost. Perhaps for someone besides me this is a life changing book that connects with them in an intimate way. And if that is the case then I'm very happy it was written and so important to others. For me it just misses the mark in a lot of ways. But hey, it's short and I can't complain about that.
To read this and more of my reviews visit my blog at Epic Reading
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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