‘I’ll Be There’
by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Sam Border wishes he could escape. Raised by an unstable father, he’s spent his life moving from place to place. But he could never abandon his little brother, Riddle.
Riddle Border doesn’t talk much. Instead, he draws pictures of the insides of things and waits for the day when the outsides of things will make sense. He worships his older brother. But how can they leave when there’s nowhere to go? Then everything changes. Because Sam meets Emily.
Emily Bell believes in destiny. She sings for her church choir, though she doesn’t have a particularly good voice. Nothing, she feels, is mere coincidence. And she’s singing at the moment she first sees Sam.
Everyone whose path you cross in life has the power to change you–sometimes in small ways, and sometimes in ways greater than you could have ever known. Beautifully written and emotionally profound, Holly Goldberg Sloan’s debut novel deftly explores the idea of human connection.. (Source: Goodreads.com)
My thoughts about the book:
Sam and Emily is, as the name already tells, a charming, but also sad story about the chances of life which can lead to luck or misfortune. Small occurrences, considered in little only as vanities, which maybe have to mean nothing, but if you look at them in the big whole of the life with the involvement of other people, they can turn the whole life upside down, or shape a new course and lead to chain reactions.
Goldberg plays with these small chances, with these little twists of fate and leads us on an exciting, amusing trip of the unusual chances, where she never loses the main topic or the general sight of the big picture. And exactly this is it, what makes this book to something special and thereby contrasts with others and for it she earns every single point in my rating.
Unfortunately there are not only positive aspects in the book, but I also have to criticize some things in it, which has diminished my reading pleasure and are also the reason for the lower rating. For me it’s clear that this is only a subjective, personal preference, but it has disturbed me that everything was written from the third person. Especially I didn’t like that there was this ‘omniscient narrator‘, who constantly summarized and told about the people in the book, about their feelings and their past and so.
This kind to writing reminded me very much of the old classics, for example ‘The picture of Dorian Gray‘ which was written alike hence this is a little atypical for nowadays and so one is less accustomed to it – at least I’m. Though thereby one got to know a lot – and also unnecessary things – about every single appearing character, and I think the writing for it is very difficultly, but thereby I could only build up lesser feelings for the central figures. Though they were there, but anyhow I could not grasp them within my fingers, couldn’t feel them.
Sam and Emily were as characters in this book really interesting and I’ve also grown fond of them, the same with Sam’s younger brother Riddle, but unfortunately there were not enough attachment and feeling for them because of this ‘omniscient narrator’.
I rather would have liked to know much more about Sam and Emily or from them as a couple and what they’ve talked about. I would have loved to read their dialogues, and about their feelings when they touched or kissed for the first times, how it was for them when they were together. But this virtually didn’t appeared properly, because this ‘narrator‘ only told about it by the way. Hence, I found this was a pity and I’ve liked it the least in the whole book.
But, nevertheless, I’ve liked this book very much; better than other books, because the story was really tragically and I immediately felt with the central figures. Particularly with Sam and Riddle – I just wished them some luck and a better life. And although this ‘narrator’ – thing has stood between me and this book, there were also moments in it, which really made me upset and sad, even so much, that I have lost one or two tears – to be honest, I’ve cried like a baby, but I don’t care!
So, as you can see, the book has its strengths and also its weak points, but it probably lies with every reader whether they like this way of telling a story or not.
The cover has its own charm and in addition the title reflects perfectly the contents of the story. On top one notices the love with which the cover was made and designed with miraculous details and a special material.
All in all:
It was a tragic, but also delighting and emotional book, which I’ve liked very much except for the narrative manner. Who doesn’t have a problem with such an ‘omniscient narrator’, like I had, has here a fantastic book, which I can only recommend.
3,5 of 5 points – (I really liked it).
A huge Thanks for the reviewer’s copy to:
About the author – Holly Goldberg Sloan:
Holly Goldberg Sloan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and spent her childhood living in California, the Netherlands, Istanbul, Washington, DC, and Oregon. She has written and directed a number of successful family feature films. The mother of two sons, Holly lives with her husband in Santa Monica, California. I’ll Be There is her debut novel. (Source: goodreads.com)
Visit her Website »».