Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Guest Review: The Blue Pen

While chatting with my friend Margaret a few weeks ago, I mentioned I was reading a .pdf copy of a book by newcomer Lisa Rusczyk, called The Blue Pen. After hearing the plot, she was intrigued. SO, I offered her the chance to read it and write a guest review on the blog. Needless to say, she JUMPED at the chance (*ha* you know, Margaret). So, without further ado...

The Blue Pen
Author: Lisa Rusczyk
Pages: 202

Summary: Parker Townes is a lonely writer for a magazine who, for some inexplicable reason, finds a homeless woman in his car one autumn morning before he heads to work. After throwing her out of his vehicle, he becomes interested in her life story and attempts to track her down, to no avail. In the end it is she who finds him, after reading an article he published about his encounter with her, and she shows up unexpectedly, breezing into Parker’s home with a kitten she insists belongs to him. For two days, Parker spends the majority of his time at his kitchen table with the woman, Cleo, as she tells him the story of her life, her love, and how she ended up on the streets.

The Blue Pen is in simple terms a Sunday read. A good book to have with you when you wrap yourself in a blanket on the couch with a mug of hot tea on a cold Sunday when you have no responsibilities hanging over your head. The lack of responsibilities is a must, because with this particular book you must devote your entire attention to the story.

The main characters are Parker and Cleo, two strangers who have come together by some unseen force of fate and each seem to have a certain element of obsession with the other. Their voices are believable and individual from one another, the dialogue between them flows easily and is nice for the reader’s mind’s ear to listen to, as is the same with all of the side characters. The writing itself is beautifully done, leaving the perfect number of gaps so as not to clog up the pages with miles of description and letting the reader fill in the visual gaps themselves. It is clear and concise and not hard to understand, but also has an element of charm that only good storytellers possess. This is what holds the reader’s attention throughout all two-hundred pages.

However, when I first began to read it, I found it somewhat lacking in the plot department. The snowball that Rusczyk had set rolling seemed to be stuck on a flat plain, occasionally hitting a bump of an exciting event, but then panning out again as said event was not explained. It is not until Cleo begins to tell Parker about her first love that the plot begins to thicken.

And even though the story continues to hold the reader’s interest as the plot progresses, Rusczyk seems to continually veer off the path she’s on and choose another one. For example, Cleo’s first love, Patrick Downes, isn’t nearly as involved in the story as the reader expects from Cleo’s earliest statement about him: “I’ll start with the person who shaped my entire life. Patrick.” (page 24, Chapter 5) Patrick is a young man whom Cleo meets in her youth while working at her father’s veterinary clinic, and the only foundation for their romance seems to be the fact that he calls her “Beautiful” rather than using her actual name. One Ferris wheel ride and several days of him hiding out in her barn make up the rest of their relationship before he is sent to war, and he fades almost entirely into the background, leaving it unclear just how much life-shaping he did for Cleo.

Overall, however, the book is well worth a read and maybe even a re-read. Rusczyk has a writing talent fit for bestsellers, but perhaps should work on her plot development before hitting the shelves. I, for one, would be very interested to see what else she has to offer.


Thanks, Maragert, for that SUPERUHMAZING review and thanks to Ms. Rusczyk for the review copy!


Jessica (BookLover) said...

Excellent review! This is the first I hear of this author and her book sounds pretty good.

Lisa Rusczyk said...

Thanks so much, Margaret. I just found your review today. Your words make me happy.

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