Book Review: Too Many Questions by Lesley Grant-Adamson (But how many is too many?)
Title: Too Many Questions
Author: Lesley Grant-Anderson
What's it about?
Laura Flynn is working on getting her life back together, but her first priority must be her clients. As a private detective in London, Laura fills her days searching for lost, monstrous cats, investigating businesses to ease a client's concerns and doing favors for her Gran. But is all three at one time too much? It's not easy, that's for sure, especially when she finds herself the target of some violent plans made with the intention to end her life! And, in case that wasn't enough excitement for her, she now gets to deal with her ex-husband wiggling his way back into her life, her good friend dating her ex-husband and the realization that her Gran may not be around forever. It's 228 pages of mistakes, not so great decisions and life threatening accidents.
Favorite Part: I think my favorite part was towards the end with Gran. I can't say too much because I don't want to give spoilers, but it was a great interaction to say good-bye to Gran with. It was a moment kind of like I remember having with my own grandmother on more then one occasion.
Least Favorite Part: I'm not entirely sure. There's a few answers that come to mind when I ask myself which part was my least favorite, but the one that best fits this question, I think, is when Laura goes to Mrs. Lotti's to talk about her cat. I can't explain why that part was so disliked, but it was. It felt almost too drawn out and slow and it just didn't keep my attention very well.
Favorite Character: This is hard because I think it depends on which part of the story we're talking about, however, overall, I think it ultimately comes down to two people.
The obvious would be Laura and, she is actually one of the two. While half the time i find her personality almost flat and in need of further depth, other times I just find her amusing, funny and I just can't help but to like her. I respect her strength and her independence and I love that we see that this is a character that's grown even before we meet her, but sometimes, I just felt like she lost dimension and dropped down to a two sided character instead of three or four. Sometimes, it was the sheer desire to like her or the memory that allowed me to get to the point where I can say that she's one of my favorites.
The second is Laura's best friend, Anna. She's motherly, nurturing and supportive. She's dedicated her life to helping others even if there is a cost to her. She sees Laura taking care of everyone else and continues to be the person who takes care of her in any way needed. She's honest and loyal. She's kind of Laura's pillar when she needs something to help her keep upright. And, through it all, she stays open minded and accepting of those around her.
Least Favorite Character: My least favorite character might be Peter. Just go with me here as I dodge spoilers. Yes, there are characters who are obviously the enemy, who are cruel, dangerous and deserve to be a person's least favorite but Peter? Peter lives under masks. He pretends to be someone he's not. He is manipulative and out for himself regardless of what that does or how it hurts others.
"Sharp I said: 'Ok, yes, it's absolutely normal, but I don't have to like it. I hate it. And we can none of us avoid it, can we? That ultimate betrayal of the body, when your own flesh fails you. Look what she's become. Within minutes she's stopped being a person, she's reduced to some doctor's case. All that personality and individuality gone into hiding, the big steps towards the end of her life. You see see it often enough, Rather Mahon, can you get used to the cruelty of death or does the hurt come fresh each time?" (pg. 65) This felt so personal for me because I've seen it. I saw my grandmother go through this. With all of her personality, individuality and love, the second she stepped into a doctor's office it was like it had all been abandoned and was gone unseen because of her age, because of any health struggles she had. She was no longer seen as a person but just another medical case. And, for the family, that's one of the hardest things to have to maneuver.
"How is one ever to know why a perfect stranger is kind beyond the call of duty or else inexplicably rude?" (pg. 82) This one was fairly simple. We all have stories. We have our own lives apart from any one, individual person we may come across during the course of our day. We don't know theirs and they don't know ours. We don't truly know why it is that they treat us the way they do. Maybe it has nothing to do with us, maybe it has everything to do with us. All we can do is control how we treat them and, hopefully, we can remember that hey have stories that we know nothing about.
"But very good isn't always good enough, Miss Flynn." (pg.160) Sometimes, no matter how good an opportunity is when presented to us, it's still not right for us at that time. Sometimes it's not quite good enough for what we have to offer. Just because something is "very good" doesn't mean we should settle when we know we can get and deserve to get great.
"A free spirit myself, I secretly admired a freer one. To deny his right to chose his own path, was to deny myself that right, too." (pg. 196) I liked this line because it says something almost profound. If it's not okay for them, then it's not okay for me. The reverse is true also. It's almost a poetic way to close the door to a double standard and to show a maturity in Laura to admire and respect someone else for making the right choices for them even if those choices hurt her.
When I opened this book, I didn't expect a British grounded voice. However, while that totally knocked me off balance for a moment, what knocked me over was the way the chapters are set up. Not what you expected, huh? I know. I also didn't expect the chapters to be 50 pages long, either. Really. Let me put this into perspective for you. This book is 228 pages with a total of five, yes 5 chapters. Now, I know that for some people, that's no big deal. However, for people, such as myself, who prefer to finish my reading time at the end of a chapter, it's kind of shocking. It's true that I strive to read 50 pages a day (or more) but sometimes it's not exactly possible for whatever reason so to feel the pressure to read through the chapter and then the hesitation to start a new one knowing I may very well not finish it did not lend help the experience for reading this book.
I also found that this book starts off slow, or at least I felt like it did. I get that there's reasons for what happened and that we needed to get to know the players and what not before the action could really start but those first chapters were hard to get through. I found my mind wondering and on more then one occasion I had to double check my reading because I thought I missed something. Usually, I didn't but I was still confused about what was happening.
I also found that I didn't love the characters. Even though I liked Laura, I didn't love her. As I said earlier, I felt like she went from flat to multi dimensional to flat again all throughout the book. She was determined and work oriented which I understand but sometimes that one characteristic seemed to overshadow everything else. I was not a fan of this inconsistency.
However, I did find that in the final two chapters, I felt far more invested and pulled into the story. I went from feeling like I had to take breaks in order to be able to focus and retain what I was reading to being able to read straight through (though with three kids, one husband, three pets and a mother, the ability to do that is pretty limited to begin with). I went from "Do I really want to read this when I just got new books for Christmas" to "Man, I sure hope this all ends with a happy ending! If these things happen, I'm going to cry!" Which, I must say, was kind of a shock for me.
In the end, I'm glad I read it. It was okay, nothing spectacular but nothing horrible, either. It was an experience that I got to have but, even thinking that there was to be more to come for Private Detective Laura Flynn, I had no great plans for tracking down her books for me to read. Truly, I felt like this was a one time read for me.
What I rate this:
I give this book a
10 pink elephants (on a coffee mug)
But that's just me! Maybe this style just isn't my thing (I'll have to do some more reading to confirm that), but maybe it's totally yours! Have your read this? What did you think? Did you love it? Did you think Laura had far more depth then I gave her credit for? Let us know in the comments!