Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review: The Phantom Limb by William Sleator and Ann Monticone

"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia."  - E.L. Doctorow

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." - Ray Bradbury

"I try to leave out the parts that people skip." - Elmore Leonard

I selected this book from a cart at Printz in order to eliminate unwanted books; we have too many.

PLOT. Isaac discovers a mirror box (a sort of optical-illusion device) with an amputated limb on the inside. The limb tells him via signing that its owner was murdered and that soon Isaac's mother will be too (Joey, the dead one, shared a passion for the piano with Isaac's mother Vera, and the murderer hates piano players for some reason). Isaac must stop the murderer with the help of Joey's arm.

The main problem was that the writing in the beginning annoyed me. Not only was the actual prose choppy, but the writers ignored the Show-Don't-Tell rule and laid out everything on the table, and the optical illusions, while interesting, were poorly explained. The plot was engaging but the conclusion seemed hasty. Then again, it might be better in the published version - I read an uncorrected proof.

I was not terribly impressed, but not the worst thing I've ever read either.

Final grade: D

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