Today’s team review is from Terry.
Terry blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.com/
Terry has been reading The Mud Man by Donna Marie West.
An interesting book!
What I liked:
- The story idea; it was the blurb that attracted me. What a great premise! Wanting to know what would happen kept me reading all the way through. I thought the gradual, slow way in which the man’s recovery was described was very well thought-out.
- The fact that the author made something that sounds crazy unrealistic come across as totally feasible. I was impressed by this from the beginning.
- The amount of research that has clearly been done, into every aspect of this story, and the way it was woven seamlessly into the text; I never felt as though I was reading Ms West’s research notes, as one sometimes does. Every part of the Mud Man’s recovery and development felt authentic.
- The ‘easy read’ quality of the book; the scientific aspects are explained so that anyone can understand them – and learn something. I found some of the explanations most interesting.
- The ending: it was fitting, and I’m so glad the author didn’t make it schmaltzy.
What I was unsure about:
- The tone of the book, which is a little twee at times and I felt would be more suited to light ‘women’s fiction’ or even a sweet romance. The writing style didn’t seem right for a book about this subject matter; Veronica didn’t come across as a respected academic, to me.
- There was too much mundane detail. If a character is having a day at home, we don’t need to know what she did unless it is plot relevant, or pertinent to her character development. Lists of information telling us what she ate for breakfast, that she rang her mother, cuddled her ‘kitties’, then ate such-and-such for lunch, etc., come across as superfluous. There was too much needless detail about what people ate and drank, throughout.
- Mud Man Dom’s way of speaking. Surely the amount of time he spent with people educating him would have resulted in him able to speak in more than childlike monosyllables, which became monotonous to read after a while.
- How some characters are described as ‘African-American’. It seems odd, if you’re not also pointing out every time someone is of Asian or Caucasian origin.
- The way in which Veronica (and others) looked on Dom as subject matter to make her rich and respected in her field, even down to exposing him to the hell of TV and chat shows.
Having said all that, I did want to keep reading, all the way through, because of the storyline itself. It’s not a bad book at all; I just think it needs a firmer hand!
When anthropologist Veronica Booth is called to consult on a dig in northern British Columbia, she expects to discover the usual remnants of early indigenous life. She never imagined finding a man preserved a metre deep in a thawing bog. More shocking still—he’s alive, albeit barely. The mud man, as Veronica initially thinks of him, matches no missing person reports, and his DNA is like nothing on record. Radio-carbon dating of his clothes and items found with him suggest an impossible age of 9,500 years! As he slowly recovers, the mysterious man reveals a host of surprises, stunning Veronica and those growing close to him. But can a man who lived a millennia ago adapt to life in the modern world?