The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
My Rating: 2/5 Stars
Made it to 300. Not sure what that says about me, other than the fact that I probably have too much time on my hands. I should probably spend a bit more of it writing, instead of reviewing, but I plan to rectify that situation as well. Otherwise, I’ve checked the gauges, and all systems are a go.
Once again, I’d like to thank all the people who are smarter than I am who have already written a review. That’d be Karen and Kemper and Amanda and Trudi. But as usual we may have a difference of opinion or two, and those errors are more than likely of my own making, so I do have that going for me.
What made me weigh in on THE SHINING GIRLS more than anything was the dichotomy of ratings that spanned my friends’ lists. From over-enthusiastic high ratings to ones that lumbered near the nether regions, this novel brings out the little demon in all of us, some more prominent than others, just as the supernatural house did for Harper Curtis.
“Why did you kill, Harper?” You might ask.
“Because the house told me to.” He’d probably reply with a stint in his eye.
And that was when I wanted to haul off and smack the bastard. Sure, he may have had his reasons—women filled with hope and promise and a strong, particular shine—but those reasons were never completely fleshed out for this reader. So he ended up being more of a machine as the body count ratcheted up, and the violence took a turn for the worse. Which wouldn’t have been all that bad, except his motivations continued to remain less than clear throughout the entire tale. I can say yes to violence just as fast as a football player, but I needed character development and building to give this story a more rounded out finish and a bit of polish. Instead, I ended up more than a bit disconnected, and that out of body experience continued to the end of this blood bath, with women slaughtered like lemmings.
Kirby Mazrachi, the one that got away, had motivation and conviction and a strong sense of purpose, but even she seemed a bit one-dimensional. She held hard and fast to her principles, even as she was being disemboweled on a sandy beach. But she let this one particular focus consume her entire existence, and it nearly swallowed her whole.
And the time-traveling premise while interesting made me want to head on back to my apartment and end up in 1969 with my hair out of line. Like the rest of this novel, it seemed a bit too convenient and forced.
While I can understand Lauren Beukes‘s reasons behind writing this genre-bending tale the way that she did, it doesn’t mean I have to agree with the final result. Had this novel not hit so close to her home, the execution and gaps might have dried up faster than the Sahara, and she might have ended up with a stronger book in the end.