Book Review

The Awakening By Billy McCoy

The Awakening by Billy McCoy is a book, according to the author, which is misunderstood in the development of the main character and in the denouement of the story being anticlimactic, but is really a classic literature piece that ends in tragedy.  The story centers around a young girl who deals with the marital conflicts of her parents, her attempt to leave a legacy that honors all the family members who have influenced society before her, and then follows the girl through her own sour marriage.  The story does end in a tragic way, yet does appear to be anticlimactic, with the main character having an epiphany for her own daughter about what values she intends to instill in her.

I usually start a book review with positive critiques, but this book needs quite a bit of editing and development, and while I see a lot of potential in the story, as it stands in this edition, I can’t find any aspect that catches my attention to showcase.  I found both the characters and the plot lacking as well as the editing work.  While there are components here that might make a reworked version of this story fall more into line with a classic literary work of tragedy, such as the famous work of Death of the Salesman by Arthur Miller, the plot lacks direction and the characters lack the depth to make it there.

The first major problem, to me, was the lack of a plot.  The author mentioned in the opening of the book that the plot has come under attack in some critiques and I can see why even given the author’s explanation.  The fact is, I do not see a plot in the story.  I thought from the introduction that the young girl in the story was going to attempt to save her parents marriage, and in the beginning I felt that was where the story was heading; however the marriage of the parents was intact throughout the story although certainly dismal and dysfunctional.  Holly is encouraged, particularly by her father, to find a volunteer opportunity that will keep in line with the family’s service work and while she does find this opportunity, it also doesn’t contribute in a meaningful way to the plot.  Lastly, we see Holly and her husband’s marriage or lack thereof play out ending in a baby.  While the author seems to want these experiences to add to the disillusionment of the main character, Holly, through her idealism, isn’t designed as a strong enough character to pull this off even with the scattered plot.

In my opinion, Holly just allows things to happen to her and I couldn’t begin to pick out characteristics of her.  She almost feels lost in the story.  When the events that are supposed to leave her as a crushed idealist happen, we don’t see enough of Holly’s actions or decisions to make a connection to the two things.  I don’t see the quality of idealism displayed in her to know she is crushed by the end of the book.  I simply followed a disorganized set of events which happened to a flat character that I didn’t get to know.  The story could certainly be set up to allow the blows from the parent’s dysfunctional marriage, the messed up volunteer opportunity, and the lackluster marriage ruin Holly’s idealism but we first have to see Holly’s idealism displayed in her character.

The editing and grammar in the piece also needs worked through.  There are too many run on sentences, misplaced commas and semicolons, and homophone misuse that make the book look very unprofessional.

In conclusion, I think I see where the author was trying to go with this book and the components are such that with revision the author might make it there, but the flatness of the characters combined with a plot line that is not smoothly buffed causes the author to miss the mark on this one.

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