Review: Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You by Joyce Carol Oates
Title: Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Publication Date: August 21, 2012
It wasn't like she had not warned us.
It wasn't like she had not prepared us.
We'd known that something was wrong those last several months.
But then, Tink hasn't actually vanished. Tink is gone, and yet--she is here somewhere, even if we can't see her.
Tink? Are you--here?
*Warning: This review may contain slight spoilers and a rant. Read at your own risk!*
Have you ever seen a book cover and thought to yourself how much you love it and therefore it must be an amazing book? Well that's how I felt when I first came across the cover for Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You. I love it. When I read the synopsis I was drawn to the book even more. Suicide? Ghosts? Hells yes, sign me up. So naturally I ran out and bought myself a copy and sat down to inhale it. Now have you ever come across a book that you thought was one thing and then turned out to be something completely different? Yup, that's this book again.
The story is told in three parts: Merissa's story, Tink's story and Nadia's story. These three friends are all going through some tough times but none of them know that about the other.
We first meet Merissa Carmichael: perky, pretty and incredibly smart. One of the smartest people in school even. She just received early admission into her college of choice so you'd think she would be on the ultimate high. But she isn't. Merissa is struggling with the suicide of her friend Tink and is falling into a deeper and deeper depression. Unfortunately, this was not enough to make me sympathize with this character. Merissa worships her father, who is a giant ball of human garbage in my opinion, and treats her mother like trash. She only cares about her "daddy" (calling him this drove me absolutely CRAZY), and even though he is clearly the one at fault in the falling apart of her parents' marriage, she thinks horrible thoughts about her poor mother. She was also kind of rude to people for no reason, and I just couldn't connect with her know-it-all attitude.
Next we have Tink. A retired child actor and daughter to a celebrity, Tink is a brash, independent teen who acts, talks and dresses however she feels like at the time. We know right away from reading the synopsis that Tink has killed herself. Sadly though, I didn't like her character any more than I liked Merissa. I had a little more sympathy for her, but not much. Are we given reasons why Tink would want to hurt herself? Not really. We are left to decipher the tiniest of clues and even though we get a small insight at the end of the book, it isn't clear if this is the actual truth or just something that could have played a factor.
Finally, we come to Nadia. The only character in this entire book that I could even remotely connect with. Nadia is in love with a teacher and this causes her to make bad choices. She also has the father from hell and oh what I wouldn't give to jump into this book and take a baseball bat to him. I know, a little graphic, but he has it coming. Nadia is treated so poorly by her father and step-mother that she starts getting fantasy and reality mixed in. She seemed the most genuine of the three girls and the least bratty.
Aside from the characters, the storyline itself was not at all what I was lead to believe. Has Tink come back as a ghost? It's hard to tell. While the girls think they can talk to her, I couldn't figure out if she was actually talking to them or if they were just imagining what she would have said to them. It was incredibly frustrating. Also frustrating was that time jumped around without warning and it was hard to follow what was happening and what were memories. Sadly, this happened more times than I can count and it yanked me out of the story every time. I had a very hard time following this author's writing style which is a little upsetting because I've heard great things about her books and even have another one my shelf to read.
Overall, this book just wasn't for me. I was left feeling angry and confused. I'm still trying to figure out what the truth is. I had considered many times putting this book down and walking away but I kept at it. Am I glad I finished it? Sure, but only because I absolutely hate not finishing a book. Will I try another of this author's books? Probably, but I won't force myself to keep reading this time.
I hope that should you decide to give this a read that your experience is far different from mine. I do believe that this book has a home in a lot of reader's hearts and you never know, you might be one of them. So even though this book wasn't my cup of tea, I hope it will be yours.