Friday, May 14, 2021

Book Review: Penpal by Dathan Auerbach

Title: Penpal
Publisher: 1000Vultures
Publication Date: July 11th 2012
Print Length: 243 pages
Genre: Horror
In an attempt to make sense of his own mysterious and unsettling childhood memories, a man begins to reconstruct his past. As the games and adventures of his youth become engulfed by a larger story, he finds that it forms a tapestry of unbelievable horror that he never could have expected.

Each chapter completes a different piece of the puzzle for both you and the narrator, and by the end of it all, you will wish that you could forget what he never knew.

I love books that keep you guessing throughout the story. When I heard about Penpal by Dathan Auerbach through a Facebook group I'm in, it sounded right up my alley. However, I was left with so many questions after finishing the book.

The premise for the plot of Penpal is an interesting one. I liked how Auerbach uses the narrator's memories to lead us up to big reveal of what the horrible thing is. However, the execution of this is where it falls short. The memories are out of chronological order which makes things confusing. There were times where I had to really think about what I was reading and try to place it before or after another memory I had read about. Putting the memories in chronological order would have really benefitted this book much better. I will say the pacing was great for Penpal though. I did find myself wanting to know what would happen. The suspense throughout was fantastic! However, I felt the ending was a bit anti-climatic considering all that had happened. By the ending, I was left feeling so confused! I can't really say too much, but there were some things that just didn't make sense. Some of my questions were answered by scouring the internet for answers, but many of my questions about the book went unanswered. I also noticed many had the same questions I had. On the plus side, there were no cliff hangers.

While the narrator and his best friend felt fairly fleshed out, I felt that the author missed their voice when they were children. I just felt that that when they were kids, they would not be talking or acting the way they did. I also felt that the parents needed to keep an eye on their children better! The narrator is never named which I think helps with the suspense of this book. I did like the characters and empathized with the narrator, but as I've stated previously, the author really needed to work on the voice of his characters as children to give them a more realistic feel.

Trigger warnings for Penpal include death, attempted murder, some profanity, implied pedophilia, violence, and kidnapping.

Overall, Penpal is a confusing book, but I did enjoy the writing style. With some rewriting, this book could be really good and even have the potential to be a great idea for a film. I'd recommend Penpal by Dathan Auerbach to those 16+ who like to figure things out on their own, but be prepared to be left with many questions after you've finished reading it.

No comments:

Post a Comment