Have you ever read a novel that you REALLY wanted to like but you…..just……can’t…..finish???

I am going through this right now.

I’ve read books that have given me all kinds of anxiety in the past, all for various reasons: Have you read the ‘Consequences’ series by Aleatha Romig? That will give you a book hangover- it actually comes with a warning! Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris – WOW- I almost had to stop reading. These novels were ones I almost couldn’t handle the subject matter- but I kept going- despite incredible levels of stress due to the story line.

This book I am about to discuss however, falls into this rare categoryWould like to keep reading…… but just can’t….

I purchased ‘American Elsewhere’ because it looked like it may have a Stephen King horror vibe about it. I loved the synopsis- it had me….it really sounds like the kind of story I enjoy. The cover I thought was a bit ‘meh’- but ‘Never Judge a Book by the Cover’– right?


Some places are too good to be true.

Under a pink moon, there is a perfect little town not found on any map.
In that town, there are quiet streets lined with pretty houses, houses that conceal the strangest things.
After a couple years of hard traveling, ex-cop Mona Bright inherits her long-dead mother’s home in Wink, New Mexico. And the closer Mona gets to her mother’s past, the more she understands that the people of Wink are very, very different …
From one of our most talented and original new literary voices comes the next great American supernatural novel: a work that explores the dark dimensions of the hometowns and the neighbors we thought we knew.

My Take:

I was only a few chapters in before I realized that this was going to be a strange book…..

While I was assuming it was a Horror- this Science Fiction vibe took over…..then suddenly there are Fantasy elements…..there was so much going on with the story- I became a bit agitated.

I read to relax- not to get irritated.

YES, I am currently blogging about a book that I couldn’t finish! By the middle of the book (and it is a lengthy one!) I ultimately gave up. I went online to check out reviews- I see it has several great reviews on Goodreads– but my opinion of the novel was a confused one.

Was it brilliant?

Was it trying to hard?

Is there something I am missing?

Is there something it is missing?

Honestly- I have never been more confused about how I feel about a novel, so I reached out to a large Facebook reading community I belong to. I asked the thousands of people in the group if anyone had read it- and what they thought:

Do I just give up?

Do I keep reading?

Will this all start making sense?

Did you find it bizarre?

I had three responses- two of them were from people who had attempted the novel a couple of years ago and both people had also given up in the middle with the exact same feeling I had.

Okay- I am not alone in my thoughts. Good to know.

Have you seen the movie ‘The Fountain’ with Rachel Weisz and Hugh Jackman? It was all a bit odd and confusing……I remember having the same feeling about that particular film, that I am having now- but with The Fountain being a movie- I continued to the end, all while muttering ‘What the #$% am I watching?’

The way the story forms in American Elsewhere reminds me of the style of that movie. Very all over the place. Incredibly imaginative, yet almost too ‘out there’.

So why am I using my Book Feature to share about a story I couldn’t finish?

  1. Just because I felt that this book was a bit much for me right now- It doesn’t mean that someone reading this blog won’t be attracted to the novel and end up liking it. As I said, I liked the synopsis and I struggle with the question: ‘Is this author genius and I am just missing something?’ Just because I found the story overwhelming, doesn’t mean someone else will.
  2. We all have these moments when we read. It is rare that I give up a book halfway through- but when I do- there is a legitimate reason for it. If you don’t vibe with a novel- don’t read it. (Unless you are being forced to for a school assignment or your job) There may be a better fit for you.
  3. **It is possible to walk away from a book and return to it at a different time and learn to enjoy it the second time around. I’m not saying this about every and any book- but there are moments where this is possible- and I HOPE that when I do return to American Elsewhere- that I will be able to finish it.
  4. I would love to hear from people who have read it! What did you think? Feel free to post your thoughts on the book below. (Though try to leave it as spoiler free as possible!)

**I have kept my bookmark in place, yet have shelved ‘American Elsewhere’ for now. I may revisit the novel eventually and try again. I am not too worried about forgetting this particular plot-it certainly stands out- so I may just pick it up where I left off so I can keep going. I do want to see how everything plays out. With everything that is going on in the story- I actually expect it to have a dynamic ending. I would be disappointed if it didn’t. I really am intrigued how the story will eventually come together- but I need to walk away for now. I can only take so many weird twists and turns…..

It just happens sometimes……

…..and who knows…..maybe this is the novel YOU have been looking for!

For more information on American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett- Please visit his website: http://www.robertjacksonbennett.com/books/american-elsewhere

Like I said above- I would love to hear from you if you have read this novel- Feel free to leave spoiler free comments for me. 

Also: Are there any novels that you had to walk away from? Which ones?