November 19, 2011

No Story to Tell by KJ Steele

Have you ever wondered if you can be born into the wrong life?

Victoria is a dancer. Or she was a dancer until she got sick on the day of her big audition. Ever since that day Victoria has let other people run her life for her - her husband Bobby, her friend Rose, a former friend Billy Bassman - and hasn't had the courage to stand up for what she really wants in her life. Until one day a painter named Elliott turns up in her small town and really starts listening to her and to what she wants. And through their relationship, she begins to take small steps toward becoming the person she always should have been by opening a dance studio, standing up to her husband, and opening up to a stranger over the phone about things she hasn't told anyone. She always said that she has no story to tell but it's really just become no one would listen. Once someone starts listening, Victoria's life is changed for better or for worse.

KJ Steele does a great job in No Story to Tell of defining her characters so that you know them. The problem was that as defined as they were, I really didn't like any of the characters other than Elliott. All of the characters represented very real people in our society, but it's not what I wanted to read. Victoria was a self-pitying woman who allowed herself to be treated poorly by everyone around her, Rose was a critical and destructive friend, and Bobby was a drunk, foul, and horrible husband and person. And those were just the main characters that showed up often in the book. And when you don't like the characters, you stop rooting for them or caring about them at all.

Overall this book was okay. It had a lot of potential and I really liked the first half when I thought Victoria had promise and was going to break free of her mold. Then about halfway through the book, there was a big incident and things just spiraled downward both in the book and for me. It's written well and includes quite a bit of true emotion, but the last 100 pages were really just depressing and hard for me to read. And I wanted the ending to be a happier one, something to lift the book up at least a little and it fell short for me.

Was I glad I read the book? Yes. Would I recommend it to anyone else, probably not without numerous caveats like it has quite a bit of language and is heavy and depressing for a good portion of the book. Even the color of the cover is depressing. 3 stars.

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