Stoltz, Adrienne and Ron Bass. 2012. Lucid. New York: Razorbill.
Rating 5 serious stars
This is a story about a girl who whines a lot more than I tolerate and a girl who is so lonely she often makes up stories about strangers around her. And I should say I am pretty shocked myself for being able to finish the story until the very last page, let alone crown it with a five-star rating.
It’s definitely not a happy story, but I smiled in some parts of it. It’s not a sad story either, but I cried anyway in the end, complete with an ache in my heart and all.
I’m not totally sure about my feelings toward this outstanding debut. Oh, you know what, before we get down to talk more about Lucid, let’s give some time to really appreciate debut novels such as this. Sometimes I wary to read a debut, because I don’t know what to expect from it and from this new author. Nevertheless, I always like to read debuts because I think it’s where the heart and soul and everything of an author would be. For their first book, I believe every authors will give anything possible to write something they can proud of. Although, after writing some more books, they probably will notice some imperfect things in their debuts. But, I strongly believe that their debuts will always have special meaning for them. And so, I am intrigued to feel that special meaning in every debuts I read. Yeah yeah, let me be in my bubble.
Therefore, beside Lucid, I recommend you to read these stellar debuts; Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu... and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (because if you haven’t, you seriously missed out BIG time).
Sloane Margaret Jameson has two lives to live on. First is the one who prefers to be called Maggie, who lives in Manhattan, New York, with a rising acting career, freedom to do anything she likes, but always lonely. Then we meet Sloane, who lives in Mystic, Connecticut, with big loving family, amazing friends, and a dead dearest best friend named Bill. Maggie and Sloane is one girl, you see. Maggie will live Sloane’s life when she sleeps at night, so will Sloane will live Maggie’s life when she sleeps at night.
There’s where we come in term with lucid dreaming, means we know we are dreaming while we dream. Both Maggie and Sloane are very aware that they dream each other lives. They can’t be more different because they struggle with different life problems, they are in totally different environment, they don’t even look similar. Both of them determine to not share this information because it sounds pretty insane to dream someone else life every night in your life. But when they do share it with someone they love and trust, their world begin to dangerously blur together. They begin to see people from their other life’s world.
I, as a smart-ass reader, knew from the beginning that one of them is not real, and eventually both of the characters must choose which is the reality one. But, until it down to two last pages of the book, I still had no idea which one is the real one, and it scared the hell out of me. Because both Maggie and Sloane had sound terminally crazy for the last 30% of the book and I felt like I was going to get crazy too by not knowing. I was permitted by the authors of this book to finally understand everything in the final chapter. The final chapter which contains only two sentences. Oh meany talented authors, you guys.
I’m going to be judgmental now. I prefer Maggie rather than Sloane. She is strong, independent, and witty. She occasionally made me crack a smile because of what she thinks and says. Although I mostly bored with her opening chapters, I prefer her than whiny Sloane. Sloane has many things to be grateful for but she keeps this one annoying trait because she lost her Bill forever. So, what we have? Maggie’s chapters are not interesting enough because they portray her lonely daily life and the stories she makes up for strangers, and Sloane’s chapters annoy me because she whines and whines and focuses on one tragedy.
Then, why the five-star?
I must admit, I tempted to stop reading at the first 15% of the book because I don’t feel like I care that much about Maggie nor Sloane, and the writing style is also kind of boring. But, when you get into it, YOU GET INTO IT. I started reading this last night before I go to sleep, but I ended up not sleeping even a blink until I finished the book in the morning. In my defense, I am a slow reader and this book is slow-paced too.
Eventually, I got used to the writing style, even found it as super strong and carefully structured. Toward the end, the writing style was creepily amazing and my heart pounded so hard until I felt it in my throat. I eventually understand Sloane better and tolerate her a bit. And I feel devastated for Maggie. I cried as I shakily turned off my e-reader and just stared at the ceiling miserably. A book that gave me that kind of reading experience is very much deserved a five-star rating.
It’s not an easy read, I dragged myself in the beginning parts of the book, the pace is very slow for my liking, the characters are not really likeable. But I got to experience a story concept I never read before in any novels, it absolutely hooked me until the very last page, I got excited and scared at the same time near the ending, and several times I talked crazily to my e-reader screen because I was so into this crazy book. I guess Lucid will not be major people’s cup of tea, hell, it is not my cup of tea. But I’m glad I pushed myself and kept on reading when I felt like stopping..