My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Out April 9th! Preorder at Amazon here!
Thank you to Marcia Butler for being so sweet many months ago and offering me an opportunity to review this book! And also for mailing me her autograph! I always love to connect with new authors, and while Marcia is not new to the art scene, this is her debut novel.
Pickle’s Progress is about four people, all with their own struggles, just trying to make it through life in New York City. Stan and his wife Karen are struggling in their marriage. Pickle is Stan’s twin brother and has forever been the black sheep/lesser loved child of their mother. Junie is the bystander of a car crash on the George Washington bridge caused by drunken Stan and Karen, and Junie’s boyfriend just happens to have jumped to his death off the side. All four of them are connected in their own twisted way, and we will find out if there is a happy ending for any of them by the time the last few pages roll around.
I honestly kind of struggled with this book. While I really appreciated the book conceptually and understood where Marcia Butler was trying to go, the plot ebbed and flowed for me. There were times when I was fully invested, and other times when I found my interest wavering. The one thing that I found super distracting which could have impacted my investment in the story is the dialogue. The dialogue did not feel authentic at all. It felt very scripted and, in my opinion, kept the book from feeling realistic and relatable.
I also had a hard time with some of the decisions that the characters made throughout the book. For example, after the car crash, Junie is invited by Karen and Stan to stay in their home as she recovers from witnessing the traumatic suicide of her boyfriend. I had a really hard time believing that a real person would move in with a pair of drunken strangers without question.
If Marcia Butler was going for completely unlikable characters, she hit the nail out of the park though (and my impression was that was the direction she was trying to go). I could not stand any of the main characters. They all had horrible qualities and character flaws that made them completely despicable. Butler certainly accomplished the development of uniquely defined characters that I think will ignite some passion and emotion for any reader… good or bad (which is something I think any author should strive for).
Overall, while this wasn’t my favorite book of all time, it did have some redeeming qualities. While there were highs and lows, as a complete package it was just okay. But don’t take my word for it. Read it for yourself and tell me what you think!
-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Marcia Butler, and Central Avenue Publishing for the opportunity to review.-