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Apr 27, 2009

Review: "Follow Me" by Joanna Scott *Blog Tour & Giveaway*

"Follow Me" by Joanna Scott

Category: FICTION
Publish Date: 4/22/2009
Price: $24.99/$27.99
ISBN: 9780316051651
Pages: 432
The Burton Review Rating:3.75

The book opens up with a guy jumping off a bridge.. and then we meet Sally the younger who decides to write the story that her grandmother, also Sally, told her to never write. I found myself getting lost in the family saga that began with Sally Werner/Sally Mole/Sally Bliss and reaches the granddaughter Sally.. Sally Werner is a teenager in 1947 when her life takes a left turn as she gets pregnant and ends up walking away from her newborn son. The aptly titled "Follow Me" has us following Sally as she meanders through her turbulent life. She has no real goals, she hops on buses or bumps into people and then lives off of the good-will of others. Eventually, we read about Sally falling in love, getting older, making strange choices and just getting used to life where she finally settles in some imaginative town in New York. The characters she meets are pretty much one dimensional and predictable yet the descriptions of what Sally sees and endures are easily rendered through the author's imaginative writing technique, which you could either love it or leave it. This is her life story for all its worth, and the fact that there is a lot of drama and issues that Sally endures is what keeps it going, however incredulous some events may seem.

The narrative is told with a concurrent storyline by the granddaughter of Sally, with the focus switching back and forth between the granddaughter and the grandmother. I am not a big fan of this, especially when we are talking about bouncing between 20+ years. Once the story gets going with the elder Sally, it feels like you are chugging along on a train and then the whistle blows and the brakes are squealing and STOP you are smack back into 20 years later again listening to the younger Sally. I think the author was trying to go for suspense, since she always squealed the brakes right when we reach a climax to Sally's storyline. But we don't see the younger Sally for too long of a period during the middle, it gets back into the elder Sally's life pretty quickly so it's a minimal complaint. Towards the end of the book there is even another way the book reads, as we are hearing word for word the contents of a recorded tape.

The writing itself is again in a league of its own, with one liners or phrases that are streamed together as if to show the subconscious thoughts of Sally. One can only take so much of the chatter (at some points it seems to be paragraphs of mumbles, questioning) although again I think the author is pulling for a sense of whimsy. And Sally the elder is definitely an impulsive one; she gets herself settled after one hardship, then she is off again running. The author at one point used an analogy of a theme park ride, going around in circles and no matter how much Sally ran she always came back to whatever it was she was running from. How logical and believable it can all be is an entirely new ball of wax..

And yet, even with these few criticisms of the book, I enjoyed the pace of the novel and the fact that I was always eager to pick up the book to see what foolishness Sally would get herself into next, no matter how mad she made me sometimes. I found myself caring for Sally and her legacy, and hoping she would for once make a sound decision. The viewpoint is unique due to the nature of the younger Sally discovering the wonders of her parents' union through the journey that the elder Sally had told her. And then it all finally ties back to the original guy jumping off the bridge, hence the notion that the choices Sally Werner made in her crazy life affected a lot of people.

The book teaches us about the bonds of the family, the strength of love and what the outcomes are when people are selfish with their love. Putting the book together with all of the writing techniques and Sally's idiosyncrasies, this is a book to be enjoyed for the package deal. The saga of Sally Werner, along with the wide array of people she meets is actually overall a page-turner and I do recommend it for those interested in feeling better about their own dysfunctional families.

The author Joanna Scott has written several novels & short stories with which she has won critical acclaim and awards. Her novel "Liberation" also portrays the stream-of-consciousness type of writing, and it has gotten good reviews as well, I think I might have to look into that one.

The wonderful Miriam at Hachette Books is once again hosting a Giveaway for 3 copies of this book! To enter:

1. For your First entry, Follow Me, AND leave a comment with your email address. If you are already a follower, let me know that too.

2. For Two Extra Entries, Blog This Contest. Leave me the link to your Blog post.

3. For One Extra Entry, Twitter about this Contest. Leave me your Twitter name so I can check up. (I am BurtonReview on Twitter)

You do not need to leave separate comments, all in one comment is fine. I will use Randomizer to select the winners. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. The giveaway is open to Canadian and US residents only. NO P.O. Boxes. One winner per household/IP address. I will email the winners and they must respond within 72 hours.

This giveaway will end on Saturday May 23rd Midnight E.S.T.

There are 50 Blogs scheduled to be on tour for this, which is MASSIVE!
The whole list is posted at Drey's Library, and I am going to list some of the Blogs that I see have the reviews up so that you know to go visit those blogs as well. I wonder how all of our reviews will differ?

Here is half of the list:
Booking Mama
Peeking Between the Pages
Write for a Reader
My Friend Amy
S. Krishna's Books
The Epic Rat

Jenn's Bookshelf
T.V and Book Addict
Medieval Bookworm
The Book Chick
Amber Stults - Book Reviewer and Author
Allison's Attic
Diary of an Eccentric
Seaside Bookworm Blogger
Kylee's 2009 Blog
Savvy Verse & Wit
B&b ex libris
Bookin' with Bingo
A Bookish Mom
So Many Books, So Little Time

The Tome Traveller
Diary of An Eccentric
BermudaOnion's Weblog
Cafe of Dreams

Let me know if you would like your link here.