Two from the Heart…
Anne McWilliams has lost everything. After her marriage falls apart and a hurricane destroys her home she realizes that her life has fallen out of focus. So she takes to the road to ask long lost friends and strangers a simple question: “What’s your best story?” Can the funny, tragic, inspirational tales she hears on her journey help Anne see what she’s been missing?
Tyler Bron seemingly has it all-a successful company and more money than he knows how to spend. But he has no life. So he hires a struggling novelist to write one for him. There are no limits to the fictional world that Bron’s money can transform into a reality, and he soon becomes the protagonist of a love story beyond his wildest imagination. But will Tyler Bron be able to write the happy ending himself?
Despite the fact that James Patterson is “one of the best known and biggest-selling writers of all time”, this is the first book of his I’ve ever read. At least, it’s the first book of his I’ve attempted to read. I make this distinction because I couldn’t finish it. Split into two novellas, I read the first last night and enjoyed it well enough. I picked it up again this evening to read the second one and within two pages, I was already experiencing disbelief. Within ten, I closed the book. I have no idea how someone could possibly think that The Lifesaver qualifies as a credible story for adults. In first person present tense, it’s juvenile angle was just unbearable. It truly reads like a novella aimed at a ten year old boy yet is entirely inappropriate for that age group on account of the swearing and themes. I’m confused.
The first novella, Tell Me Your Best Story, I quite liked. It lacked depth, but had a nice premise and a likeable main character. Anne was self depreciating but not overboard with it. I liked the sentiment of a person travelling around collecting the best story a stranger can offer and then turning this into a book with accompanying photos. I also liked the idea of reconnecting with people who once meant something to you but with whom you’ve lost touch over the years, which was the initial motivation for Anne’s epic road trip. Writing wise though, this was pretty basic stuff. There was one line that stood out for me which is worth mentioning as I found the imagery of it appealing:
“I traced the calluses on his fingertips from his guitar, and it was almost like I could still hear the melody if their last song.”
Overall, Tell Me Your Best Story was a nice read to sit down with at the end of a busy day. There wasn’t much to dwell on and it didn’t command much attention.
But Tell Me Your Best Story was only half of this book. I really can’t in all good conscience recommend Two From The Heart. Also, I don’t even know if James Patterson even wrote it. It’s co-authored, the first novella with one other author, Emily Raymond, and the second novella co-authored with two others, Frank Costantini and Brian Sitts. I don’t know who wrote what parts, there’s nothing in the book to indicate this, so for all I know, James Patterson could have written none of it.
Anyway, you live and learn. He may be “one of the best known and biggest-selling writers of all time”, but he’s not for me. Apologies to all the hard-core James Patterson fans out there, but we all like different things, and this has left me unimpressed.