Hey, guys! Today we will be discussing a book that I had pretty mixed feelings on and that was Now I Know It’s Not My Fault by Laurie B. Levine, and the author actually sent this to me, so thank you Laurie. As a disclaimer, I would just like to state that all of my thoughts, opinions, and feels on this novel are my own. But this is a pretty powerful novel, and I had a lot of thoughts on it, so let’s just jump right into the review!
“Alexandra Geller is a bright, underachieving fourteen-year-old coming of age in the big hair 1980’s. Alex is from an accomplished, well-educated family. The sudden death of her mother five years ago, and her relationship with her well-meaning but emotionally unavailable father, leaves her unmoored and vulnerable as she tries to figure out who she is. Early in her freshman year, she’s befriended by Paula Hanover, a young, attractive science teacher at her high school. Paula’s irreverence and charm attracts the attention of the girls, who look up to her, and the boys, who have crushes on her. Alex is thrilled to be chosen by this woman and relishes the feeling of finally “belonging” to a mother figure. Paula’s intentions aren’t so benevolent, as she slowly and carefully draws Alex into a relationship designed to meet her own needs, not Alex’s. Desperate for maternal attention, Alex finds ways to ignore the vague sense that something is wrong. Her compelling story sheds light on a common, but rarely talked about kind of trauma which is subtle, and occurs under the radar.”
Wow, I have a lot of feelings and opinions on this book. I better start off with the writing. What had me knocking down stars in regards to my rating was the writing because it was not good at all. I don’t think the book went through any sort of editing process, and if it did go through any editing, it was by the author and not any sort of hired editor, which this book needed desperately. The writing seemed juvenile and very underdeveloped, and the bad writing kept pulling me out of the story.
Something that does not normally bother me, bothered the heck out of me with this book. There were a lot of cuss words in this book. This normally does not bother me, as I said before, but there was a severe overabundance of cuss words used in this novel in really unnecessary places. Sometimes I could see how the characters could be using those words to express the situation, but most of the time they just seemed out of place and pulled me out of the story.
I also have this pet peeve in regards to books in which some variation of “I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding” is used. Normally, it does not bother me a ton because most YA novels only have it in there once or twice. This book, however, had it in there at least 6 or 7 times. I started keeping track of the amount of times it was used because it became extremely overused very fast. It was on the very first page, and that just made me think I would not like the book because it was a sign that the writing would be that bad.
Now the writing in the beginning is definitely different than the writing at the middle and end of the book. Laurie’s writing really improved as the book went along, even if it was still pretty bad. There were a lot of grammar mistakes and bad story structure, and just in general bad story telling. The writing is 75% why I continue to read a book, and if the book is not well written, I don’t normally finish it. But this book was different because I still wanted to see how the story would end, even with the bad writing. And that is because of the story line.
The story line of the story is what kept me going in finishing this book. I really enjoyed learning about this trauma bond that played out, and we got to see it from start to finish. I think the trauma bond was super accurate, and it was just well done in the novel. I think I learned a lot about the trauma bond, and how it does really occur under the radar. In fact, during some of the more traumatic parts of the book, I had tears in my eyes because I felt Alex’s pain and I also felt how wrong it was for Paula to do that to her for no good reason. It made me angry that she would take advantage of Alex, so the emotional tie to the story was extremely accurate to the story as well, and I really enjoyed learning about that and reading that, even if it did break my heart.
If I were to rate them individually, I would give the writing a 3/5 stars, and the story line itself 4/5 stars. The story line was great, but the writing needs a lot of work. Overall, I do think I enjoyed this, even if I did have a lot of problems with the writing. It was still a powerful story, and I am glad I got the chance to read it!
And there you have it! That was my review of Now I Know It’s Not My Fault by Laurie B. Levine. What is your favorite book about mental illness? Comment down below! And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!