Monday, November 14, 2016

First Light

Title:  First Light
Author:  Bill Rancic
Publication Information:  G.P. Putnam's Sons. 2016. 320 pages.
ISBN:  1101982276 / 978-1101982273

Book Source:  I received this book through the Penguin First to Read program free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "The envelope arrives one afternoon when I'm out in the yard raking leaves."

Favorite Quote:  "There would be time to tend to the dead later, while the business of the living was still urgent."

An invitation arrives in the mail. Kerry, her husband, and their son are invited to a reunion. This reunion is not a celebration, but rather a remembrance and a commemoration. They gather to remember the lives lost in a plane crash. They gather to commemorate the fact that they survived.

The book centers around three main characters - Kerry, Daniel, and Phil. Based on the beginning chapter, at least two survive. So, the question of survival is answered, removing that suspense from the book. Because the husband is not named in the first chapter of the book, the question may still remain. Which man survived? For me, the answer to that question is easily guessed within the first couple of chapters. This story really can only go one way. So, that suspense too is removed.

As the book goes back in time to tell the story of the crash, the question still remains of what choices were made to survive? What horrors were faced? What difficult decisions were made? Those dilemmas, however, are really not the direction this book takes. For a book about a plane crash in a severe terrain in severe weather, this book is surprisingly calm. It's as if the snow in which they find themselves buried muffles the impact of the crisis. The book talks about the concepts of survival - food, shelter, fire, etc. - but each seems to be resolved without a sense of urgency to it.  The plane is full of people, but the book focuses narrowly on these three; the remaining characters seem to be there as background because it would not do to have only three people on a plane. Even the rescue seems inevitable; after all, the book begins with the survivors.

More than the devastating crisis itself, this book is about these three characters and their emotions. This perhaps explains why some catalogs list this book as a romance. The cover seems to lend itself to that image as well. However, this book is not really a romance either. It is about relationships old and new, but not a romance novel. It is about love, lost and found. Some additional drama is added by  Phil's back story and the addition of their cantankerous boss. However, that is mostly filler and not really necessary to the main plot.

So, a book about a plane crash is not a dramatic story about survival. A book about survivors is not really about dealing with the emotions of being the one to survive. A book categorized as a romance is not really romantic. So, what exactly is this book?

I am not entirely sure, but, regardless of what it is not, the book does keep me reading. What works for me in this book are the descriptions. The writing is very visual. I can picture the mountain, the snow, and the shattered plane. I can picture the fire by the side of the plan. I can picture the trek to search for help. Those descriptions are the memorable part of this book much more so than the characters or the story.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment