Leah's 2.5 star Review
The Mad Tatter by J.M. Darhower
Reviewed by Leah
This book was difficult for me to rate because there were parts I loved. Parts where the writing was so beautiful and I felt a connection to the characters so strong, I felt I was a part of their story. However, I was never able to fully fall into this story. There was a combination of little things and one big issue for me that held me back. The first chapter of this book was a jumbled mess. It was slow and didn’t really make a lot of sense, something that is tricky, first chapters are hard, it’s an establishment of where to direct readers while giving some enticing information, and introducing some of the main characters. This book started with the elusive mystery of “her.” Personally, I’m not a big fan of elusive secrets. I prefer to experience the issue with the character rather than have the author tease me with clandestine words and actions. The secret was very quickly revealed which I was grateful for, and the writing vastly improved after the first chapter!
The small problems for me were:
1- The editing. This book didn’t have a crazy amount of mistakes, but there were enough that it caught my attention several times, partly because some of the more noticeable ones were the POV changing from first person current to past, and at one point even going to third person.
2- Rhys vs. Reece. I understand the intention of having people that didn’t understand him and were pompous and weren’t accepting of him to call him by his given name: Rhys. BUT, if a name is spoken in dialogue, there is no way for you to know the difference when the name is pronounced the EXACT SAME! I feel like he needed to be named Samuel and his friends called him Sam or something, anything to show an actual distinction.
3- The italics. Dear heavens, the italics! There were way, way, way too many italicized phrases in the book, and what hurt me was it was generally a redundancy from the previous line. I think at times this can be extremely powerful and beautiful, but in this I just got annoyed with it.
4- Timeline. This man was REALLY busy five years ago because he apparently had a daughter, was arrested and started a new job all at the same time.
Those issues are hurdles that I can generally overcome fairly easily, but Reece I couldn’t. While he had some really great and redeemable qualities, he was a selfish jerk! Initially I laughed and thought this really is how it is way too often. Books often portray the women as being the ones being sought after and I appreciate that the author showed that women often work just as hard if not harder to catch the attention of a guy. In the Mad Tatter, Avery comes in with her friend to the tattoo shop where Reece works and catches his eye, yes, she drew his attention first, but, from there, Avery does ALL of the work. ALL OF IT! She comes to the other side of town to see him nearly every day. He does buy her drinks (another thing that annoyed me because he constantly made mention of how broke he was and couldn’t afford anything.) She visits his work and takes an interest in his work, meets his kid and helps out, and other things that take a lot of time as well as pieces of your heart and soul. I really loved her. She was beautiful and it truly showed. I was waiting for Reece to catch on and show her the same respect she did to him, but he never did. He went to see her dance (her passion) twice. TWICE!!!
At the very end of the story, he does show some small changes to show he’s being more supportive, but I hate thinking that a woman that strong and giving would stay with someone and make that commitment to someone that showed so little effort that he didn’t even ask for her phone number even after she has come to spend time with him for several weeks, and is helping by offering to babysit his kid!
I did like that the author didn’t make Reece rich, or suddenly on a path leading to it. I appreciated that this story was about him rediscovering himself, finding his own self-worth, and confidence. I just wish he had made more of an attempt, some kind of grand gesture- hell ANYTHING besides indifference which is in my opinion what he did at the end after her show.
As I mentioned, there were stretches where the writing was truly beautiful, and the realness behind the characters and story were refreshing, Reece just wasn’t my kind of dude, and I wouldn’t want someone I know to swoon after him either to think they have to give everything to receive such a small part back.