Monday, September 3, 2012

My Dead Friend Sarah: A Thrill Week Read

My Dead Friend Sarah
Author Peter Rosch
Mere months into recovery, Max, an alcoholic with twisted control issues, meets Sarah – the same woman that for years he’s habitually dreamt will die after a botched abduction. "Doing the next right thing," a popular AA phrase he’s picked up in the rooms, means befriending Sarah long enough to warn her and hope she takes him seriously. But when Sarah falls in love with Max, his newly sober thinking drives him to choose his overly devoted wife, and he abandons Sarah – even when it condemns her to death. When Sarah goes missing, the NYPD suspects Max’s dream may have been a pre-crime confession. The truth, all of it, lurks inside of Max, but only by drinking again does he recapture the nerve and clarity vital to free his wife, sponsor, and himself from a life imprisoned by lies.
Review: For the majority of the book I was thinking that perhaps Sarah was a figment of Max's imagination. I arrived at this during Sarah's talks with her therapist, Beth.  Given the set up and alternating chapters it was plausible to think that perhaps this was all happening inside Max's drunk induced mind.  However, that wasn't the only reason, and the more I read, the more I realized it was mostly due to the lack of change in 'voice' between characters that was giving me the impression that this was one character instead of multiple.  For me, this is the only drawback of the story. The voice does not change and can be deceiving, especially when gender is involved. It seemed that each character was an aspect of Max's subconscious rather than a stand alone character.  I did like the book, including the ending, which lead me to realize my initial thought was probably wrong. It didn't matter much that I was, and didn't leave me disappointed because by flattening perception, Rosch successfully projected Max's insecurities, guilt and images on the other characters. We saw them as he did, whether that was accurate or not.  Thematically, I liked the use of sobriety providing muddled vision, much like trying to view the world through a smeared window verses drinking, which wiped it away giving clarity. The rationalization is astonishing and anyone familiar with addiction will undoubtedly relate to this concept.
*ARC provided by NetGalley, independently published
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  1. An unreliable character, I wonder if the execution was off or if this was what they were going for.....

    Sounds interesting, thanks for the review.

  2. My thoughts are the same as Marce. I wondered if it was intentional. Thanks for an honest review.

  3. Now my curiosity is piqued....