Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Beautiful Miscellaneous by Dominic Smith

The Beautiful Miscellaneous by Dominic Smith
ISBN: 978-0-7432-7125-7
Pages: 327
Back of Book Description:

Nathan Nelson is the average son of a genius. His father, a physicist of small renown, has prodded him toward greatness from an early age--enrolling him in whiz-kid summer camps and teaching him college algebra. But despite Samuel Nelson's efforts, Nathan remains ordinary.

Then, while visiting his grandfather in the summer of 1987, Nathan is involved in a terrible accident. When he awakens from a coma, his perceptions of sight, sound, and memory are radically--irrevocably--different. The doctors and his parents fear permanent brain damage, but the truth of his condition is more unexpected.

Nathan attends the Brook-Mills institute where savants, prodigies, and neurological misfits are studied. Immersed in this strange atmosphere, he begins to unravel the mysteries of his new mind and tries to make peace with the crushing weight of his father's expectations.

My Rating: B+

My Review:

At the very first I was struck by the writing in this novel more than the story itself. I think it's possible to write too beautifully. If it's overdone the beauty of the prose can actually take away from the story itself. I was surprised by the beauty of Dominic Smith's writing and his ability to still make the story flow. Unfortunately it took awhile for the story to actually lift off. I read a review of the book that I thought fit it perfectly, at first. The review said simply that the book started slow, was good in the middle and that the ending dragged on. I agree with the first part. The story does start quite slow, but in hindsight I realize how important to the story this was. If a quarter of the beginning of the book were left out, the reader would not be touched emotionally by it. The middle of the book and the climax, or at least where I think the climax was, was extremely good. Hard to put it down really. The end, at first I felt did drag. As I kept reading though I realized it was just as important as that 'extra' at the beginning. There was a chapter or two at the end that I didn't quite understand why it wasn't simplified.

The characters in this book were extremely well rounded, every one of them. The ending is a bit surprising and completely worth it. This book is a wonderful read, and I highly recommend it. I found that the story starts as if it's about Nathan, then seems as if it's about Nathan and Samuel, then about Samuel and towards the end about Nathan again. I think though, that this book is truly about every character in it. They all support each other perfectly, just told from one person's view.

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