Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Book Review: Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans (Whitney Finalist)
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Enjoyment Rating: 3/10
Referral: Whitney Finalist
Source: I had to buy my own hardback copy for $15 from Amazon. No PDF provided; library waiting list too long (Not that I'm bitter or anything)
Books I've read this year: 25
Miles to Go is the second book in The Walk series, and it operates in every way like the second novel in a trilogy. It's The Empire Strikes Back, the Back to the Future 2, of the series. By this, I mean that it assumes that the reader knows everything from the first book and is comfortable picking up mid-story. It also assumes that the reader is going to pay $15 for the third book, so there doesn't need to be any resolution. For a reader like me, who hasn't read the first book and who has no plans to read the third, this makes for frustrating reading.
When the book opens, Alan Christofferson is in the hospital, recovering from being jumped and stabbed by a gang in Spokane. He was in Spokane because he was dealing with his grief from losing his wife (in a tragic accident), his business (a ruthless partner stole the business while he was in the hospital with his wife), and his home (foreclosed on in less than a month! really?), by walking from his home in Seattle to Key West, Florida. After being released from the hospital, Alan spends several months living with Angel/Nicole, a woman who's reeling from her own tragedies. Once he helps her get her life in order, he continues on with his journey, ending somewhere in the upper plains at the end of the book.
That's the entire plot. There may be some kind of narrative arc to the three books, but this book did not have its own that I could tell. I know that Evans is beloved by many, but I find his writing almost unbearable. In describing Angel, Evans says, "She was short, petite, and barely taller than a floor lamp." He includes lots and lots of extraneous detail about movies, and this book doesn't seem to reflect an understanding of using dialogue to move a story forward instead of replicating what people might actually say in a certain situation. Regardless of my opinion, I know that there are hundreds of thousands of people who will buy this book and love it, and I hope they really enjoy it.