Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review of The abortionist's daughter

The abortionist's daughter is a novel about a woman trying to get past her family's history. First by making rash and stupid decisions, but then coming into her own and making a life for herself without depending on anyone doing it for her.

I've been asked to read this novel, by someone who thought I showed enough diversity in my book tastes which I think is a beautiful compliment. I try not to judge, there's really just one genre I'll reluctantly try a hand at, after the necessary amount of coaxing. It's detective novels I don't like, but enough about that.

The author, Elisa DeCarlo, seems a colorful character when I googled her. Not sure whether she portrays herself differently on the internet than real life, but still you'll need to be quite boastful to tell the story she did. I try a hand at writing once in a while, but those stories tend to be introspective, emotional rollercoasters much like I am.
Elisa delivered a well told story about a girl trying to become someone she could be proud of in a world where women weren't supposed to be making anything of their lives. It's set early twentieth century, the era of the Ziegfeld follies and New York being blissfully awake and sedated at the same time.
Melanie, the protagonist in the story, lives a quiet but restless life in a little rural village where she has become the talk of the town ever since her father was tried and sentenced for accidentally killing someone while performing an abortion, hence the title. She carries the stain of his convinction which ruins her future in the small community.
As a result, when she is being seduced by the charismatic James Trockmorton, she follows him willingly to the Big Apple. He isn't the man he portrays to be, ultimately changing Melanie's life forever. She has to make the choice of meekly dealing with what life hands her or making a life for her own.

I won't tell any more spoilers.
Only my opinion to help you along choosing the right read for you, which in this case flounders in both directions.
I'll start with the bad news, a few things that annoyed me and that could have caused me to put the book down before finishing it.
The introduction into Melanie's hardships is quite long. I found it a little tedious at some points which made me abandon the novel a few times because it got a little too much. It's been a while since I've read a novel painting an emotional picture of one person and I needed to get used to it.
The other thing that bothered me, but also made me want to read on. I know an oxymoron maybe. What I mean is the uplifting spirit of the book. While the author went to great lengths telling a story remarkably historical correct, the emotional tide in the novel was too Hollywoodian for me. Life is all about ups and downs and a few spins at that, but this novel followed the path of many romance novels and movies I know.

But now what I liked about it.
Well, I liked that she ultimately becomes someone to notice. As much as her struggle feels a little premade, I was still cheering her on for becoming strong and I was proud of her during her last encounter with James. When I finished it, it left me content which is great feeling to have. I've had novels leaving me frustrated, angry, sad and the worst of all, unbothered.
Content is a compliment. The novel came full circle. Many authors can create a wonderful thrilling beginning and middle, but only a few can orchestrate a well done ending.

The novel could have been more elaborate, maybe touching deeper on a few touchy subjects such as abortions and the right for women to vote, but I didn't miss its depth.

I'd recommend this novel mainly for warm summer nights when you feel the need for romance and a happy ending.

I'm giving this novel a 7 out of 10.