Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury - REVIEW

Goodreads Synopsis:
Molly Allen lives alone in Portland, but her heart is back in Franklin, Tennessee, where five years ago she walked away from a man she cannot forget, a rare sort of love she hasn't found since.
Ryan Kelly lives in Franklin and spends plenty of time at The Bridge-the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin-remembering the long hours he and Kelly once spent there.
Now, Ryan and Molly's favorite bookstore is in trouble. For thirty years, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing the people of middle Tennessee with coffee, conversation, and shelves of good books-even through dismal book sales and the rise of eBooks. Then in May a flood tore through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store. By Christmastime, the bank threatens to pull the lease on The Bridge and is about to take the Bartons' house as well. Despondent, Charlie considers ending his life. And in the face of tragedy, miracles begin to unfold.

My Take:
2 Stars
This book was a disappointment to me because Karen Kingsbury is known for writing Life Changing Christian Fiction, and this book was not written in that manner, nor was there any reference in this book that it was that type of book. I felt this book was written more for the “mainstream public” to generate sales for this last holiday season, and sales alone.
This book also put the ebook down for taking sales away from physical books in this bookstore, which every bookstore now has the ability to sell ebooks, so this was not believable for me. If any bookstore wants to compete in the market, they MUST keep up with things such as the ebook, and they all know this. In fact, news of the 2012 sales for physical books has just been released, the date I saw these numbers was on February 17th, 2013. They only declined a half percent over the previous year. This tells me the ebook is NOT taking away sales of physical books, and quite frankly, never will. In fact, the ebook is generating additional sales for these very same books! This very miniscule decline has been demonstrated for the last 4 years in a row, and you also must remember we have gone through a huge recession during this time as well. Who is to say if it was the ebook or the recession that people still have not recovered from completely that physical books ONLY declined in sales this previous year by a half percent? A half percent is nothing!
I thought this was a sly move to add this into the her book,  appealing to the public more or less about ebooks taking away from physical books. This actually quite upset me that Karen Kingsbury would write this into one of her books!
Some people have mentioned this will become a Christmas Classic, but in my opinion, no. This book is not strong enough to stand the test of time to survive as a Christmas Classic with the mainstream public OR with KK’s fans. There is too much missing from this book. Details, story line, relationships, and especially for what she is known for most, and that is scripture, the ‘Life Changing Christian Fiction’. Although, as long as there are KK fans out there, and they missed the omission of Bible verses, references to God, etc., it will be a classic for them because they love anything KK writes.
Yet even the general public and some of her fans were not happy with the way this book was written, either. They detected something was missing from this book, and it was the omission of references to God and the scripture that she usually always puts into her books. This book also only skimmed the surface of things, never getting too deep. When KK writes, her books are generally hefty stories. This book is about less than half the size of her usual writing, so you knew right there it would not go too deep into things, and it did not. There were parts that were very sketchy. Why not take that other ebook and combine it with this book, probably how KK had written it in the first place? I’m confused about the way they did this, although, having not read the other book, I cannot give a statement of fact (my opinion) as to why the books seemed split.
Why was the Christian Fiction omitted, or left out? My guess is the mainstream public would not purchase a book with her usual writing, and in my opinion, this book was written for sales to the general mainstream public, and not just her fans. Why else would there have been so much advertising in the entire last 23% of this book about all her other books? In my opinion, it was in order to be able to introduce “NEW” readers (the mainstream public who would have bought this beautiful Christmas book had it been full of her usual writing) to her books, thus generating more sales for her books. It’s not like she really needs to advertise this much, by making the ‘purchaser of this book’ PAY for her advertisements. This is essentially what she did. We ALL were fooled and shocked as we were reading along and it ended at 77%!
Why did this story did not work for me? It is unbelievable.
The story was nice, but only in the face of tragedy does the community come together to help Charlie, and his wife Donna, owners of The Bridge Bookstore that had their bookstore wiped completely out of books by the 100 year flood. “If” the community cared more, then Ryan and Molly, both former customers and friends of the owners, back to this town for this holiday season, neither knowing the other would be there, would not have had to form a rally to get the public to donate books to ‘restock this store’ completely with books given to them from the community so the owner’s would not lose it. Again, this only happened after Charlie had a tragedy happen to him, and Ryan formed a rally for the public to donate books.
My question is: would this have happened in real life? No. Would the community have been able to restock the shelves of this bookstore from top to bottom ‘completely’? No. It’s a nice idea, but in reality it would never happen to the extent it did in this book.
Molly and Ryan are another story. They both come back to town for Christmas, here to the town where they went to college together and studied in this bookstore’s loft as close friends that could have become more, but they decided to end their friendship and go their separate ways after college was over. This ends happily for them in this book, but there is a whole other “ebook” dedicated to their relationship (funny it’s in an ebook ‘only’ format since this book seemed to put ebooks down for taking away sales of physical books). Do I want to read that other book (called “The Beginning”) and learn all the nitty-gritty after now knowing now how Molly and Ryan’s relationship ends? No. Why would the author give the ending away to another book she has written? Where was the editing for this book? Yes, she’s a famous, well-known author, but that does not mean it doesn’t need editing.
I thought this story might be predictable as most of KK’s books seem to be anymore, and it was. This is one thing I don’t like about an author – predictability. A lot of people LOVE and NEED predictability, and it seems KK delivers this just fine, no matter what the story is about. This book did deliver on that subject, thus making her fans happy.
The other thing that did not work ‘me’ is I need a novel that is deeper than what this one was. One that does more than skim the surface of things like this one did. (So add another 100 pages of writing if need be. This book was only 228 pages.) I need believable things to happen.
For instance, this town expected a flood every 50 to 100 years. Knowing this, they would have had Flood Insurance. Nothing was mentioned about this. What was mentioned was the sad story about the loss of the entire inventory of every book in this store, thus driving the tragedy. You could almost feel it coming. Realistically, and in other novels, this couple would have had flood insurance and everything could have gone back to normal soon, thus no tragedy. Maybe it would not have covered everything, but the books would have been the merchandise, and that would most likely have been covered. Perhaps the general public does not know that stores can purchase flood insurance? That is what did it for me, the knowledge that flood insurance is available, and no, they did not mention a word about it. Had she added that into the book, as I said above, it would not have provided a means for a tragedy to happen, so predictability, yes.
This book, since it was meant for the mainstream public, did have one thing that was missing from it as compared to her other books she has written, and that is the scripture and talk of God.
This book felt like it was intended to be written as one large novel, including the relationship between Molly and Ryan, yet it was cut in half to serve as an avenue for Christmas sales for one, and then an ebook for the people who know there is one about Molly and Ryan’s relationship while in college. I’ll be willing to bet the ebook is more like KK’s usual writing. Not everyone may know about this ebook, either.
This book, to me, was not written as KK’s Life Changing Christian Fiction, as the rest of her books are known for. It seemed to leave the reader feeling like something was missing from this story, (the Christian parts) but implied, in a way without saying anything about God), but showing the kindness of the community.
Again, the one thing that really got me was how this story ended at 77%. Out of the blue! The rest of the 23% were ALL ADS for her other books! People paid for her FREE advertising!
I received this book for FREE from Howard Books, through NetGalley, in exchange to read and write a review about it. It is NOT required for this review to be either positive or negative, but of my own honest opinion. “Free” means I was NOT provided with ANY MONIES to read this book nor to write this review, but to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html
Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

The Bridge: A Novel by Karen Kingsbury
Print Book: $10.86
Ebook:       $ 7.99

1 comment:

  1. I have never heard of this author.... but I never ever read an ebook. I like a book I can hang on to.

    Thank you so much for your honest review.


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