Cross Over The Tracks
I have very mixed feelings about this book. I’m always 100% honest in my reviews but I feel like I owe every author the good deed of at least being fair. It wouldn’t be satisfying to simply say I didn’t like this book and give no reason why. Just as it isn’t very satisfying to hear that your work is awesome and nothing more. So, I’m going to break down the pros and cons of this story.
At its heart, this is a literary novel about the little things in life. It takes us on a journey of self-discovery and growing pains as we watch twin brothers take on similar life challenges in their own unique way. There is a lot of imagery and detail in this book complete with flashbacks which gives readers a preview of past events in both lives of the protagonists. There is a full cast of characters for you to enjoy, each with their own personality and purpose in the story. The theme of following your heart and enjoying every part of your life hangs on throughout the reading.
I liked the strong sense of family and the friendly bonds that were made in this piece. It was obvious the author has spent a lot of time in small towns as he expertly detailed little parts of the hometown of the protagonists throughout the story. There is no part described in this book that you won’t be able to perfectly imagine as you read. The authors does a wonderful job at meticulously detailing even the smallest things.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction, strong family bonds, emotional growth, and even those who have a heart for western novels might like this.
Now, what I didn’t like about this book happens to be all the best parts. Literary fiction is one of my favorite genres because its also one of the toughest to excel in. Each story is laid bare; the gut of the work is not necessarily in the story itself but in the craft of the writing, the detailing, the command of the English language. Literary fiction forces the author to dig deep and truly demonstrate their ability to weave the right words into the right description and the right telling of the right story. Unfortunately, since there is so much focus on the writing, the story and the purpose in that story is usually lost. It boils down to a sink or swim situation. In my opinion, this book was a little bit of a gurgling, struggling swim—like a child awkwardly floating in the deep-end of the pool for the first time. Swallowing water here and there but ultimately staying afloat.
I mentioned before that there was a lot of imagery and description in this book and I am not lying about that AT ALL. The writing is VERY good in this piece. Perfectly written with no noticeable errors—kudos to the editor—BUT clean writing doesn’t necessarily equate to entertaining writing. There was so much description in the book, it felt like a whole lot of nothing happened. It got very boring very fast and I was wondering, until the end, when I’d get to the point of the story. A good chunk of the book was filled with random flashbacks and details about events and encounters that were written with a high level of competency and craft, but ultimately boring. It felt like the entire novel was about nothing. Pages upon pages of unnecessary information, there was a 10-page flashback smack in the beginning of the story as soon as the book began—all of that just to tell us how the twins had a ten-second conversation about what they wanted to do when they grew up. Events and conversations that could have been written in a page or less took up entire chapters where the point was either unimportant or lost somewhere along the way, entangled in all the extra verbiage.
So, this book is written very well. The writing is spectacular and clean and clearly demonstrates what Booth has to offer in the literary realm. Unfortunately, the story itself is incredibly boring. I really wish I had enjoyed this story, I really wanted to like so much of it, but it just didn’t do it for me. I will recommend it to others and I will say that I don’t think Booth is a “bad” writer, or even a boring writer. I simply think this story isn’t my cup of tea, but I definitely look forward to reading more from this author.