Thursday, January 24, 2008

Book Review: Forget Me Not by Michelle Ashman Bell

Book Review
Forget Me Not By Michelle Ashman Bell
Dalton McNamara, a veteran of the Vietnam war, travels to find his first wife’s relatives so his daughter Skyler can learn more about her heratige. Dalton also hopes that on his trip he can find peace. He was held prisoner of war the last time he visited Vietnam. He hopes that with his wife Paige’s help he can overcome the memories that haunt him, and teach his daughter Skyler to accept her past and her birth mother’s choices. Traveling in rural Vietnam proves more dangerous than they had originally planned, and they end up in a Vietnamese prison, which might not let them return home, ever.

*Spoilers in this section*

I thought that this was a decent book. The story-line was very touching, and the setting extremely cool. The characters are likable, though Sky annoyed me because she was portrayed as a whiny teenager with little other characterization at the beginning of the book. Perhaps that was the author view for her, but I felt that the characterization was superficial at times. The prose was sometimes awkward and forced, along with the dialogue. Yet, there is a lot of wonderful description, interesting characters, and suspenseful moments. Though, I sometimes thought that the plot was unbelievable. In the course of the book the main characters get thrown into a Vietnamese prison, and actually get out again even if it is supposed to be impossible. Then there was the fact that the book only recorded the positive effects of being in the prison, increased spirituality, gratitude for freedom, and appreciation for prisoners of war. The author doesn’t portray any lasting negative emotional side effects at all, which was so incredibly unrealistic that it was annoying. This is a reason why people bash LDS fiction, because the authors don't deal honestly with human emotion, especially negative ones. Sometimes, the author just can’t take their characters or reader to that level of darkness, and that is a major weakness. So the book was okay, and in the end the story did touch me despite the fact that the book had a few weaknesses.

Michelle Ashman Bell website:

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