Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Book Review | The Big Wide Calm by Rich Marcello

Title: The Big Wide Calm  
Author: Rich Marcello
Publisher: Langdon Street Press
Publication date: July 15th 2014
Pages: 254
Genre: New adult (maybe? - to be honest I have no idea)/ contemporary
Average rating: 4.00 / 5 stars 
My rating: 29%
Review type: Non-spoiler

Paige is a rock star. The world just doesn't know it yet. She's got the charisma, the drive, and, of course, the mega-musical skills. All she needs is to make her debut album, one that will change the world, inspire revolutions--and make her galactically famous along the way. 
When John Bustin, a former semi-famous singer/songwriter offers to record Paige's album for free, it feels like destiny, like the next step on her way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Guitar in hand, Paige sets off to John's recording compound, ready to unfold her future. But the ever-elusive John, with his mysterious history, and Paige, a big dreamer but naïve about her footing in life, clash as much as they coalesce. Before they can change the world through Paige's music, the improbable duo must learn to work together.
A coming of age story and retrospective, The Big Wide Calm focuses on human nature and the complexities of love through the eyes of young and old on the journey of creating the perfect album.

The short story....
Although I did slightly enjoy parts of this novel, I had a lot of problems with it, stopping it from being anything but an un-enjoyable read in my opinion. The story line was only okay and I began to find it boring at times as well as finding scenes a lot more explicit then I bargained for...but I'll get to that later. I found the story unrealistic, the characters unrelatable, fake and very annoying and the writing flat and failing to absorb me with the story. In short, these things are the reason that I did not enjoy this book.

The long story...
The idea of the talented musician on the road to success is an okay (though somewhat cliché story) that could be mildly enjoyable if done well. However, in my opinion it wasn't at all correctly executed and it ended up just being over-the-top, extremely predictable, very unrealistic and, quite frankly, boring. There were things happening in this book that would just never happen in real life which made it very unbelievable as a storyline and extremely hard to carry on reading the book or to feel at all absorbed by it.I also found that throughout the story, the protagonist had a lot of "deep and profound" thoughts or epiphanies that felt very forced and not really deep at all but mostly obvious and often shallow.
I feel the need to mention that this book had a few... lets just say, explicit sex scenes in it that I was not expecting. The only reason I read this was because I won it in a giveaway and I had no idea what it was about or what it involved but I was fairly surprised - or maybe the better word would be shocked when I stumbled on to one too near the beginning for my liking. Now don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with sex in books - it's a normal part of life and it often makes the story more realistic as well as sometimes adding to it. Even though again there is nothing wrong with it, I have never read anything as explicit as was featured in this novel seeing as I'm only 15 (it's really not something I'm interested in reading) but I guess I wouldn't be too bothered about it in the right situation - what I mean to say in a really long-winded way is that I really wouldn't care about reading a book with "sexy" scenes in if it was done well or added to the story. However, I found that making these scenes as explicit  and over done as they were very unnecessary and rather than being "steamy" (which is, of course one of the reasons sex scenes are used in literature such as new adult and is what other people look for in these scenes) they were just crude and awkward and I cant imagine it being enjoyable for anyone.
Going on to characters, the one thing I would give credit to this book for would be the character back stories which I thought were well thought-out and developed. However, I really didn't like the characters. They felt extremely fake, unrelatable and it was so unnatural and annoying that I couldn't even try to like them or enjoy the story. Moreover, while there was character development, I didn't feel it was done very well and again it felt very forced. 
My final point is about the writing. While the writing wasn't bad by any means it felt quite simple and flat with no style to it, failing to bring me into the story as well as boring me a lot. Moreover, the speech wasn't written well, sounding very fake and cold be compared to movie speech, which of course isn't realistic. the tone of the writing annoyed me greatly, and while I knew the author was trying to be unique in his style and aiming to give the protagonist a distinct voice, it did not feel well-executed but instead very forced and irritating.

All in all, I am sure you can tell that I did not enjoy this book and I wouldn't recommend it. However, it has had a lot of good ratings and reviews on Goodreads and of course, this review is just my personal opinion and obviously other people will think different things. So if you are interested in picking it up and seeing what you think, you can have a look at some more positive reviews on Goodreads and I would love to know what you think if you do read it.

I hope you enjoyed this post and are having a good week. Have you read this book? If you have I would love to hear your opinion of it and find out if you agree or disagree with me as I know there have been a lot of mixed reviews.

Love Ellen xxx
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