Merin is a teacher, a book blogger, a baseball addict (Go Cardinals!), lover of music, movies and TV crime dramas, and YA/MG connoisseur. Follow me on my blog at http://ahandfulofconfetti.wordpress.com!
How do you review a book that's told in such a fractured way that every little thing you could mention would be a major spoiler? A book with such an unreliable narrator that you aren't even sure which way is up for the majority of the story? One that was so brutal and gruesome and yet amazing that I was, at times, trying to read the words between my fingers? To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure, and that's the conundrum I face while trying to compose this review for Another Little Piece. While I had been warned that this book was a bizarre one, nothing really prepared me for just how unique this story - and its method of storytelling - really was. Just like Annaliese is a fractured mess, so is this story; and I shall work extremely hard to try to make sure this review does not fall into the same category.
First of all, let me get this one warning out of the way first. This book is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, if strong and unapologetic depictions of violence and gore aren't your thing, you probably want to steer clear of this one, or at least be well aware of what you're getting yourself into. I am not necessarily one who shies away from gruesome descriptions, but fully admit that at times - particularly at a scene that's referenced and re-shown several times throughout this book - I was cringing away from my Kindle and squinting at the words because I couldn't quite believe what I was reading. And any book that can give me such a visceral reaction is clearly doing its job; I just want everyone to know that they can expect that sort of response because it kind of hit me over the head a bit and had me pretty much staring wide-eyed at the page.
When I called this book a fractured mess, I wasn't really lying. It's not a mess in the sense that it's terribly written or even bad at all, because it's not. This book is excellently written and achieves its goal - confusing its reader (ha!) - quite well. But the story is told through our narrator, Annaliese (or Anna), and she is suffering some significant memory loss thanks to having been missing for nearly a year. Her background - which is dark and horrible and (here's that word again!) gruesome - is told via flashbacks that she has that are triggered by words or phrases or things she experiences. As Anna tries to piece together her past, so does the reader, because things don't make a whole lot of sense at the start. As Anna tries to reconcile herself to Annaliese's life, she soon realizes that she's just not right, that she doesn't belong, and that she has to figure out who and what she is if she's going to try to fix things. There is an extremely fast pace to this story, which helped with the frenetic and crazy energy Anna has through most of the story, even when she's completing mundane tasks like attending school. This pace also helped carry along the confusion which is with the reader pretty much from beginning to end, and - for me at least - really helped bring the book to life and keep me engaged. Even though parts had me cringing, I HAD to figure out what the heck was going on; calling this book compulsively readable wouldn't be much of a stretch.
Another Little Piece is not going to be a book for everyone. The style of storytelling and its unapologetic nods to the horror genre - which this fits right into - will bother a lot of people, and I don't just mean that because of the subject matter or content. I'm still not positive I've fully comprehended the ending, which I personally have no problem with because I like books that make you think and actually use an open-ending to its advantage, but realize is not something everyone likes. My one piece of advice is to go into this fully expecting the unexpected, because never has a title been more appropriate: Another Little Piece will leave you grasping at the pieces and guessing until the very end.
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
To see more of my reviews, please visit me @ Read and Reviewed!