Saturday, March 4, 2017

My Life as a Bench by Jaq Hazell

A special thank you to NetGalley and Nowness Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn't sure what to expect given the premise for this book.  Lauren "Ren" Miller has died at the age of seventeen, yet her consciousness lives on by inhabiting a bench that was purchased by her father in her memory.  The bench faces the River Thames in London and is situated beside Lionel's bench.  Lionel becomes a father-figure of sorts to Ren and encourages her to break through and talk to the living in order to reveal the truth about her harrowing end.

Hazell definitely takes a different vantage point for a narrator, but is a risk that doesn't quite pay off.  Although unique in concept, it is the story itself that feels constrained by the bench, the choppy flashbacks, and by the main character herself.  Her relationship with Gabriel sounds incredibly needy and I honestly feel that this is a disservice to young girls when the protagonist's happiness seems to hinge on a boy.

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