Title- Between the Lines.
Author- Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer.
Publish date- July 2012.
Publisher- Allen and Unwin.
Thank you to Allen and Unwin for this review copy!
What I thought:
At first I thought this wasn't a book I would enjoy- the writing within the first pages, with the alternating POV's (more on that later) was extremely confusing and I had no idea where I was in the story or what was happening. I put it aside and didn't think of it for a while. After a week or so I picked it up again and read- this time I could read it without much trouble- I was still startled and a little bewildered by the changing point of view with each chapters, especially as the first three are quite short, but I was able to keep reading- I finished it remarkably quickly for a book of it's size and for the rate I had been getting through books, but, surprisingly, it wasn't a remarkable book, a favourite, for me.
First the problems I had with the story-
Delilah I found to be mildly annoying- she loves books and spends all her time reading, which is not something I find any problem with (it resembles me), but she didn't seem to have any real purpose and I found the things she did and, a lot of the time, the way she spoke to be distasteful.
Oliver I liked more- the role in the book that is is forced to play out is that of a afraid prince, one who has never fancied fighting. Delilah naturally assumes that that is how he is when she begins to speak to him, but he is just a boy written to be a prince who is tired of the life he lives in the book and wants to find a way to get out of it, and later, to be with Delilah. I'm not sure what one thing made me like him, maybe just the fact that I didn't dislike him made that the natural next step. I didn't like the fact that he didn't like the princess that he married in the fairytale, and yet had no qualms kissing her passionately each time the marriage scene occured in the story.. no problem with that what so ever. Yet he didn't like her. Not a friendly or a smart move.
Delilah's mother troubled me greviously- she ends up sending Delilah to a "shrink" because Delilah seemed to be spending too much time with her nose in a book, she thinks she needs a social life. Which is where her contrary persona begins. She thinks Delilah needs a social life yet she doesn't like Delilah's best friend and so that doesn't count. She wants Delilah to start living in the real world, says she's too old for fairytales, yet decides that she and Delilah should watch The Little Mermaid- WHAT? You think she is too old for fairy tales, but your comfort movie of The Little Mermaid... how does that make sense? Not to mention the fact that you don't seem to realise that your daughter is happy reading, that she enjoys reading the fairy tale. No- she is fifteen and too old to get enjoyment out of a fairytale. That mother made me shudder.
Different POV for each chapter- I mentioned this earlier and will explain now. Each charper changed the POV of the storyline- Chapter one starts with a chapter from the book that Oliver lives in, as Delilah would read it. Chapter two goes to Oliver's POV, inside the story. Then three is Delilah. It seems simple, but on opening it is was terribly mind messing. I do like the different colours for each chapter- Delilah is green, Oliver is purple, and the book is black- a unqiue idea.
Mermaids. Mermaids, mermaids, mermaids. I will simply say that there is a perplexing sentence. Because the mermaids aren't falling head over heels for every man that walks by, because they stand for the fact that if a man treats you badly you shouldn't go running after him, getting hurt again and again, are thus titled hard-core feminists? That's just not right! Maybe it is how some feminisist feel, but it really frustrated me that it was handed so simply.
The list of things that I liked about the book is short, sadly- it frustrated me more than anything, so I don't have many things that I liked about it.
I liked the alternating font colours, and the way the fonts used weren't the norm- it made it fun and the reading even quicker.
I liked the story of a girl and a boy, one stuck in our world and one stuck in a fairy tale, who fall in love and try to be together- it was interesting and quite enjoyable if I didn't think of it as anything past that.
I liked the idea of characters in a book living lives when the book is closed- it got me thinking and it is certainly an interesting line of thought to ponder upon.
And I liked the dedication of Delilah's best friend, whom she forsakes for Oliver as she tries to free him- the fact that the friend forgave Delilah shows a friendship and dedication, a love, that isn't common- I'm not sure if it was a wise choice, I couldn't say wether I would make the same decision, but it was beautiful.
Between the Lines is a really easy read, once you pass the confusion over the alternating POV's- very quick to read and quite enjoyable, but for me definitely not a re-read. It just annoyed me and I don't think I would recommend it- it's good, as long as you don't think too deeply about the characters and their motives, but reading a story and not thinking deeply about it isn't something I want to be doing with my reading time, that's not what stories are about, for me.