Anywhere But Here by Tanya Llyod Kyi

Unreachable character, unenjoyable read

Anywhere But Here
by Tanya Lloyd Kyi
Simon Pulse | ARC, 309 pages
I’ve had my fair share of books that feature a grieving character. I can admit to being extra generous when they rebel – become uncaring versions of themselves just because they’re dealing with some pretty explosive emotions without an outlet. Cole had the same epiphany. He knew he can get away with a lot simply because he was grieving. People gave him a pass. And you know what? I extended the same courtesy because there was no way to know what he was going through unless you’ve been there yourself.

To be honest, I did a lot of teeth-gnashing while I was reading this book. It wasn’t only Cole that gave me migraine. It seems like everybody in this book couldn’t figure out what the hell to do with their own situations. From a supposedly grieving father who turned to alcohol and a stripper for comfort, right down to a Cole’s new girlfriend who lets him treat her like a doorstep, I really didn’t know I had it in me to finish the book. But here we are – here I am, perhaps on the verge of ranting over a book that I couldn’t fairly judge. I couldn’t because Cole and I didn’t have a forgiving moment. I couldn’t give him time to sort his shit and he couldn’t give me the maturity that I needed him to show so I can give him the empathy he so needed.

I will not be the first person to admit to being an emotional reader. I have a hard time separating how the characters made me feel and how the writer made me feel. For that, I ran the risk of being blind to how well a book was written. The characters made me so mad that I simply couldn’t judge the book based on technical merits. I just can’t.

Should I apologize? I think not. I’ve never believe in ever apologizing for disliking a book nor should the authors apologize for writing what they write. Free form art and all that.

But thank you, Simon & Schuster for sending me this book. I’m sorry I couldn’t give it a fair chance. I did finish the book but I can’t say it was an enjoyable experience. And yes, I realize it’s not supposed to be, given the severity of what was tackled here. Of course, readers are only supposed to immerse themselves in a book and not take the characters’ actions personally. For this book, I just couldn’t help it.

I tried to find ways to like Cole. He tried so hard to redeem himself. But he just kept dancing around issues and his emotional bullshit without really addressing them. And it pissed me off. He kept using a girl who comes off as smart but ends up being just another dumb bimbo who lets a hot guy reduce her self-worth to nothing.

The dad was just ridiculously stereotypically tacky. He cheapened his dead wife’s memories. I think it’s what pissed me off the most about this book: women played roles that didn’t really amount to anything. They were nothing but sexpots and baby makers and perhaps that’s not the author’s intention but that’s pretty much what they were in this novel.

My rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

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