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December 31, 2011 / leuce7

Cannonball Read III Review #9 – Late Bloomer

Late Bloomer by Fern Michaels

I generally (and especially in the last few months of the year) read genre fiction–romance and mysteries, with the occasional fantasy or sci-fi thrown in.  Any combination of the aforementioned is fantastic, too.  But I’ll occasionally pick up a book that’s not a mass market paperback (or not yet, anyway) and take a chance on it.

Once such book was Late Bloomer.  In it, the main character, Cady Jordan, comes back to the town she lived in until she was ten, that was also the scene of an accident that left her nearly paralyzed and another child dead.  Except Cady doesn’t remember any of it.  After the accident, she spent three years undergoing medical treatment and relearning how to walk, and hasn’t really been back to town since then.  She comes back because her grandmother’s health is failing; her grandmother, a former movie star, wants Cady to come back to try to regain her memory and resolve the issues in her life.

The book actually begins with the accident occurring.  The reader knows from the get-go exactly what happened on that fateful day.  After finishing the book, I’m not sure that was the best way to go.  You follow along as Cady comes home, wants to reconnect with her friends who were with her that day, starts remembering bits and pieces of the accident, and becomes a more confident woman.  The problem is, you hardly, if ever, saw Cady not being a confident young woman; you already know which characters are lying to her and when, and what it is they’re trying to hide, and Cady’s revelations and remembrances are rather anti-climatic since you read about them already anyway.

Maybe I expected to have more suspense involved because the story played out, for me as a reader, more as a mystery than a character study, but I think the book was intended to be a character study and feel it failed in that respect.  The Cady at the end of the novel was the Cady at the beginning of the novel, except with a recovered memory and better wardrobe.  The characters whose developments were more interesting were secondary or even more minor characters, so there wasn’t enough focus on them to make the story really meaty, and since the reader knows what happened to Cady from the beginning of the book, there’s not much suspense or tension surrounding Cady’s process of discovery.

It may simply boil down to Cady being the least interesting of all the characters in the book.  She may be in place simply to have all the characters react off her, sort of like the spoke of a wheel, but I just never fully invested in her recovery as much as I invested in the trip of other characters, and so making Cady the central character weakened the book for me overall.

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