Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Books I've Read: Without Merit
This was an interesting read for me. Some of it I really loved, but other parts of it annoyed me a lot.
The main character, Merit, is an interesting one. She's very flawed, mainly in that she has a fixed, unalterable worldview which makes her very judgmental, especially of her family. Which is actually kind of justified, because her family are, in fact, pretty messed up.
Actually, even more messed up than Merit initially thinks. Over the course of a few weeks, and a lot of pretty terrible behavior, Merit discovers things about her family, and herself, she thought she understood, but really doesn't.
And in the middle of it all is the too-good-to-be-true boy who manages to see through Merit's facade and find someone worth loving behind it.
One of the things that annoyed me the most about this book was the character names. They're all weird - Utah, Luck, Sagan, Moby. I mean, who calls their kids things like that? I'm not one to go for standard, ordinary names myself, but these were just absurd and I found myself focusing on them rather than the story several times.
The other thing that bugged me was how easily important things seemed to be brushed over. Like the whole Syrian conflict that seemed to exist in the story solely so Sagan could have a tragic past and a cool line to use on Merit. I find this kind of thing makes me really uncomfortable. I believe if you're going to use a complex political issue in your book, give it some context and explain it in a way the reader actually learns something about it and why it happened. Don't use it as shorthand for character motivation.
That said, I did enjoy watching Merit's growing awareness of who she was and who her family members actually were outside her POV. And Sagan was a sexy love interest, even if he seems, like so many other book boyfriends, too good to be true. I mean, I want to meet one of these perfect, sensitive guys with wisdom, compassion, great smile and body to die for.
So I would recommend this book, with a few reservations. It was a quick, easy read, and enjoyable enough if you don't think too deeply about it.
But don't just listen to me. Here's the blurb:
The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.
Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.
Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.