Sara’s Review of 15 Minutes by Jill Cooper
This is going to be another one of those reviews where I’m probably not going to make a lot of sense because my thoughts on the story are rather jumbled. So please, bear with me. It is safe to say that while I didn’t dislike the book, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I would have liked either. And the primary reason for this was because the physical structure of the writing was a struggle to get through. But before I get into this, I would like to point out that the book has one thing going for it: it’s got an intriguing storyline.
I quite enjoyed the idea of a time travel agency that let’s you go back to an event in your past to revisit it, even if it is only for 15 minutes. Yeah it may sound odd that a feline would want to be able to time travel, but when you think about it, how many moments in your life would you like to go back and see again? How many people, now gone from your life, would you want to see just one more time? Even better, what if there was a way to go back in time and you were able to do research for a history paper? You know, see the actual event that you are writing about. The idea has promise and could be a lot of fun, though I’m not entirely sure I’m comfortable with the idea of going back in time with the idea of manipulate events. That probably would be my one strike against the entire time travel thing if it were possible. Still, I loved that Cooper took this idea and ran with it in her book. It definitely kept me reading long past the point where I was tempted to put it down.
So, with that being said, where did the story fall short for me? What made me want to stop reading half way through, despite the fact that I was liking the idea of time travel? The answer is rather simple: The transitions between time lines wasn’t working for me. There were several moments where I was jarred out of my reading groove by something that just didn’t flow with the events currently going on and the further I got into the story, the more confused I got by things. Which Lara was the true Lara, which reality was the right one and when did the shifts occur, etc. Add these shifts with Lara’s memories and it just became a jumbled mess for me to wade through. Yet I still read the entire book because I wanted to find out what happened to everyone in the end. And please, don’t even ask what my reaction was when I discovered that this is actually the first book in a series.
Structure aside, I know that there are some folks reading this are probably scratching their heads while trying to make sense of what I’ve written so far and for that I apologize. I did warn you that my thoughts on this book were scattered. Sigh
The characters were likeable. I can’t say that I found any one in particular as stand out worthy. I have to give Lara kudos points for fighting to save her family and will admit that she’s rather tough and possesses a strong personality. She’d have to given everything she goes through. Donovan seemed like an okay guy. I didn’t really feel like I got to know him all that well in this book, so I realize that’s a bit of a weak statement to make. Rick surprised me at one point and I actually felt my jaw drop when I read this particular scene of his. It happens when Lara goes to Rick after she escapes the hospital. Part of what surprised me was his actions didn’t seem to really fit with the impression I got of him during the early part of the book, and I had difficulty following the scene in general. There was so much going on in the book at this point that I just wasn’t sure what was going on or when it was happening for that matter.
When all is said and done, this is one of those books that you really have to just read in order to know what it is I’m talking to explain. And it’s also one of those, “your mileage will vary” types of stories. There are elements to it that I liked, there were elements that just left me entirely baffled. Yes, on one level I would certainly say that the book didn’t work for me, but I can’t dismiss it being bad either. It’s “meh”. Dare I say, middle of the road?
About the Author:
But instead, I’ll say I don’t want to write like everyone else. I don’t want to craft stories you’ve read a thousand times before. I want my novels to be a cinematic experience, blending themes, genres, and situations unlike any you’ve ever read.
I want to break the rules. I want you to break out in a cold sweat as you read my books out of fear, love, and excitement. I want my books to be an experience. When you finish, I want you to feel something. Good or bad.
If you do, then I’ll have succeeded. If not, I’ll keep trying.
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