Mean Little People

I really expected to like this story. The subject matter appealed to me, the book cover was appropriately creepy, and it sounded like exactly the kind of dark underdog tale I was in the mood for. When I read the preface I was even more intrigued, because the author clearly had the kind of first-hand experience with the subject that would give her unusual insights. Unfortunately, very early on I realized the book wasn’t for me. I finished it, but I had to take it in very small doses.

My biggest problem was the lack of complexity. The acknowledgments begin with a paragraph about bullying. The preface is about bullying. The story is about bullying. The excerpt of the next novel at the end of this book is about bullying (of a kind). I felt like I was being hit over the head constantly, like the author was standing behind me saying “Bullying is bad!” over and over.

There are no layers to any of the characters, no depth to the plot, no subtleties in the writing. It’s simply horrific event after horrific event, related in the most direct terms. I can’t speak for any other readers, but I read novels to invest some of myself in the story and characters and to come away with some knowledge I didn’t already have; when there’s no room for me to do that because the premise is simple, everything is spelled out, and the characters are unrelentingly nasty, I get bored very quickly.

One other thing that drove me crazy was the dialect spelling. “Ya” instead of “you,” constantly dropping the Gs at the ends of words, “outta,” “gotta,” “wanna” … It’s really distracting, and I’m surprised an editor let it stand. Once in a while is enough to give the flavor of the speaker’s accent or speech.

I’m sorry to be so negative, and I’m glad Paige Dearth is reaching so many people because the subject is important, but this wasn’t a book for me.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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