Innocents and Others is why I have a hard time DNF’ing (did not finish) books. I was reading and not enjoying, and then boom, right about the 60% mark it got good. Like really ridiculously good. I think my problem in the beginning was with the primary narrator, Meadow. In the words of her best friend – “God! Meadow could be so pretentious sometimes.” She was spoiled, and whiny and thought she was just so above everyone else. She pushes away her best friend Carrie, makes a few documentaries that don’t go over well and then, something changes her outlook and she becomes an actual feeling person. Carrie’s story arc I enjoyed and Jelly was hit and miss to me; some parts of her story were great and some just didn’t grab me.
Dana Spiotta crafted a very real world in Innocents and Others. She structured it well and the actions of the characters fit in what she built. The pacing was slow and a little choppy on the first half, but smoothed out in the second half. The characters were the upside and the downside of Innocents and Others for me. I really liked Carrie, Jelly had her moments, but I actively disliked Meadow for the majority of the book. There was a good emotional base throughout; I think that is why I disliked Meadow as I did not care for her emotional patterns. Spiotta has a distinctive voice in her writing. When she made you care for a character, you did, but then she could also make you really not like a character. I will say, that that takes talent. A lesser writer can make you feel ambivalent but it is hard to invoke a true visceral reaction to someone, that takes skill.
I was mixed about Innocents and Others. It had some amazing moments and some moments where I was just done reading. I am very glad I stuck it out as there were those places where the story just popped and I was so happy I read it. To sum it all up, did not enjoy the first half, loved the second half, so Innocents and Others is one I would say give a chance to.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.