Dec 06 2013

Book Review: Stuck by Stephanie Atkinson

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Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Rating: 

Synopsis: Odette Leblanc is promoted to night-shift supervisor at the local convenience store, but at the age of twenty-three, she already feels like her life has become a predictable routine. That is, until she meets a mysterious doryman and his cat on the beach, followed by an unexpected run-in with an American sailor. Each man will undeniably change the course of her life, and so will the selfish actions of her bingo-addicted mother, an impressionable younger sister, and a team of damaged co-workers. Their stories weave together only to unravel in a mess of lies, betrayal, and missed opportunity that will leave Odette to face an uncertain future.

Set in the picturesque Acadian fishing village of Pointe-du-Chêne, New Brunswick (Canada), Stuck is an emotional journey about redefining what’s important in life and staying true to yourself. ― Mirror Image Publishing

 

StuckStuck is in a way a coming-of-age tale that puts you into the mind of the MC, Odette. This poor girl feels she’s stuck in her current circumstances without a way out. There’s no real threat or issue keeping Odette where she is other than her lack of self-confidence. I call BS on that, though, because she’s only as stuck as she wants to be. Atkinson introduces us to Odette through a daily play-by-play of her life, the town she lives in, and those who influence her most. The secondary characters aren’t as important as they could be, but a few play an important role in Odette’s life. She has a younger sister at home and a worthless mother she supports with a dead end job. At 23 years old, I’m a bit ashamed of Odette’s stance in life. Also, the repetitiveness of Odette’s day puts you in her head more than you want to be. It’s almost too much and doesn’t allow for much sympathy for Odette’s plight. She starts off as an insecure liar and develops into a self-assured bender of the truth. I say that because she doesn’t accept a few things she should as truth and tries to make herself feel better by creating her own truth.

While the book doesn’t boast a traditional love triangle, there are two men who come into Odette’s life and make her look at things through a magnifying glass. Henri is a great character. He’s sweet, seems genuine, and truly likes Odette for who he believes she is. Of course, if she hadn’t lied about herself upon first meeting him, I think he would have liked her even more. Being truthful is such a huge deal when building new relationships. Odette doesn’t know this because of her lack of experience with boyfriends, living a deceitful life, and her loud and often incorrect, best friend Sarah who gives the most awful advice. Sarah definitely deserves the ‘worst BFF ever’ award. I wouldn’t listen to a word that girl says. Now, Ben … what can I say about him? He’s an enigma and remains one since we don’t learn much about him. But he has the most pull on Odette, even though she doesn’t answer the call. Ben is similar to Odette in that he doesn’t have much in life and doesn’t worry about living beyond the here and now. He’s so down to earth and is what Odette needs to keep her grounded. Odette falls into the trap of wanting to be more than she is because of who she hangs out with. I think the author does a great job of showing us how clueless Odette is to her own feelings by putting her in the sight of both men.

The setting of the quaint fishing village is beautiful. You can smell the ocean air, hear the seagulls near the boardwalk, and feel the bright sunshine on your skin while reading. I don’t know much about lobster fishing but feel like I’ve learned quite a bit with Stuck. It also doesn’t hurt that Odette takes to sailing like a fish to water and it becomes her new obsession. With that occurrence, she begins to see there is more to life than working a dead end job, providing for people who don’t care about you, and not living your dreams.

The issues between Odette and her mom need to be addressed. Atkinson does not do a good job of conveying Odette’s feelings to her mother. Too much is left unsaid or up to interpretation. Her mother doesn’t take anything Odette says seriously nor does she care how much she’s hurt her. Then there’s Odette’s younger sister who is on a collision course with life-ruining circumstances. The talk Odette needs to have with her sister never happens, and the author missing the chance to send her your readers a positive message is a (huge) disappointment.

Though riddled with plot holes, I enjoyed reading Stuck and would recommend it to other readers of women’s fiction. I’m not sure if there is a sequel in the making, but Stuck feels a bit unresolved. I’d love to know where the wind blows Odette and if she finally feels she’s where she wants to be in life.

I was provided an ARC by Net Galley and the publisher Mirror Image Publishing for an honest review.

 

© 2013, Elle. All rights reserved.

Writer, mother, realist, cloud lover, daydreamer, dessert enthusiast, sweet tea addict, perfectionist, and lover of life and Christ, but not in that order. http://www.fanfiction.net/~vikingloverelle

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