Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Review: Where it Began by Ann Redisch Stampler



   Title: Where it Began
   Author: Ann Redisch Stampler
   Publisher: Simon Pulse
   Publication date: 6th March 2012
   My rating: 2 stars



I was truly suffering from a brain funk after finishing Where it Began. It wasn’t that the book was complicated, so I had a lot to get my head around. But it was just the long winded path the book well more specifically the main character Gabby took to finally discovering the truth! Seriously Gabby kind of made your head spin in exasperated circles.

Gabby wakes up near the remains of her boyfriend Billy’s battered car with no recollection of how she got there, when in hospital she still can’t remember a thing, it takes her a while for things to slowly make sense. She was driving and ended up slamming into a tree and smacking her head. Her blood level showed she was way over the limit and consequently the smack to her head has left her with retrograde amnesia. The only thing that she remembers was that Billy Nash her boyfriend was with her in the car, but she doesn’t know what happened to him after that. Did he manage to escape? Is he hurt? Is he still alive? No one’s telling her anything, her mum just flips her off, and she won’t let her friends come to visit her either. She’s more concerned with making sure Gabby’s looking perfect physically, not the least concerned about her mental state. On top of all that Gabby also has the police breathing down her neck.

I really enjoy reading books dealing with memory loss, I’ve come across some okayish ones in the past but Where it Began started really well. You’re thrown head first into Gabby suffering from a head trauma, and you have all these questions flying all over the place, what are they not telling Gabby? Where’s Billy? Is the fact that he’s not got in contact with her and everyone’s tight lipped about him mean he’s dead? Why’s Gabby’s mum so selfish? Will we ever find out what really happened? Would Gabby get her memory back?

Despite starting off well, I had several problems with this book and thus my 2 star rating. Initially the book had the constant need to flit back and forward between time spans, so one minute you’re in hospital with Gabby, the next she’s recalling a memory of when she first started dating Billy and then you’re thrown back into the hospital and then back into the past, and so on, at times it was utterly mind boggling. I know it was there to establish the back story about Gabby’s huge make-over; finally becoming noticed, becoming part of the popular crowd and everything she remembered up until the accident. But at times I really wanted to shout would you please get on with it! I really didn’t give a toss about the back story; I just wanted to know what really happened. It was also hugely frustrating when Gabby kept constantly yammering off the point.

However what truly grated me about Gabby’s character was her infatuation with Billy. It’s like she had blinkers on throughout the entire book he was loving, caring, good-looking, everything he said was right, he was doing everything for her, basically she thought he was perfect. I don’t know if when Gabby banged her head that she knocked the part of her head which was for common sense too, but ugh some of the drivel she spouted about Billy I really wanted to slap some sense into her. Gabby’s parents were also another major annoyance in this book, like seriously does no child have decent parents anymore? Gabby’s mum Vivian honestly made my blood boil, first her daughter has suffered a major head trauma, she’s lucky to be alive, but all she’s concerned with is how she looks, instead of remaining by her bedside, she goes shopping whilst she’s in hospital for make-up so she can spruce her daughter. Obviously because that would be Gabby’s number one concern right now her appearance?

“You were so beautiful, you were”
“It kills me to see you like this.”

What a way to boost her daughter’s confidence, whilst she’s lying in bed cut off from her friends and the outside world, not having a clue what’s going on and suffering from a head trauma. Gabby’s dad was just the invisible parent, wandering aimlessly in the background making occasional appearances or just drinking himself away.

Basically Where it Began started off as a highly anticipated read but ended up being a big disappointment. The book went around in maddening circles and frustrated me to a no end with two faced and pathetic characters.

Favourite quote;

“I thought she knew” argghh!!”

16 comments:

  1. Oh no! Not another bad read for you. :( This definitely sounds a shade too frustrating for my liking so I'm happy to leave it off the TBR. It's a shame it ended up disappointing you.

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    1. I know I've been reading some real disappointing reads lately, I think I just set my expecatations too high, I really shouldn't get too excited, at least that way I won't be disappointed if it is a awful read. At least you have another book to take off your tbr! :)

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  2. Did you read Forgotten by Cat Patrick? I guess I get really excited to read books about memory loss but I don't know if I've ever really read any really great ones. In that one, I felt kind of similar to how you felt here. We are always so interested in what happened to cause the memory loss but the book is bogged down with the more mundane details about popularity and instalove:-/ Anyway, if you know of any memory loss books you'd recommend, let me know!

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    1. No I haven't read that one yet, it's really hard finding a decent memory loss book, the only one which I liked was What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. If I come across any other good ones I'll definitely let you know :)

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  3. Geez, Jasprit, you keep getting the duds! The mother alone in this makes me cringe. I can't imagine feeling that way about my daughter after she'd been in an accident! I'd just be so happy she survived! Another one you've weeded out for us!

    Jennifer Echols has a fun memory loss book: Forget You. It has typical Echols frustration and drama but I really liked it. One of my favorite Echols. :)

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    1. I completely forgot about that book, I adore Jennifer Echols' books so I will definitely check that one out :)

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  4. Oh what a shame, the cover of this really stands out to me and it's on my to-read list but you're not the first person to dislike it. The parents sound useless, particularly the mum! I think I'll still read this but I'll wait for the library to get it in ;)

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    1. Covers can be so deceiving at times! Well I hope you enjoy it a lot more than I did :)

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  5. Ugh, this book sounds extremely frustrating--I don't know that I would have had the patience to finish it! Thanks for writing such a thorough review, Jasprit--I'm sorry you haven't had that much luck lately with books, but we all appreciate your saving us from the less-than-stellar reads!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Thanks Wendy! Hopefully I've got all my disappointing reads out of the way now, I'm planning to tackle my books with great reviews such as Rebecca and Divergent! :)

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  6. It seems you've had a bit of a bad luck with your books lately. This isn't something I'd normally pick up as I tend to avoid contemporary YA unless it comes highly recommended, but nevertheless, thanks for the warning! I'm pretty sure I couldn't handle such frustrating characters.

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    1. Thanks lovely, I can't seem to get enough of my contemps but this one was so disappointing!

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  7. Awww, I'm so sorry that this book frustrated you, Jasprit! :( I feel the exact same way about books where the heroine has a huge infatuation with a guy -- sometimes it's okay and sweet and realistic, but other times I can't help but wince a little! And lots of flashbacks can definitely slow down a story.

    But still, thanks so much for the awesome honest review, Jasprit! The whole memory loss aspect seems pretty intriguing, but it's still a long way to go on my TBR pile so maybe we'll see later on! :)

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    1. Thanks Mimi, I'm still holding out that I will find a decent memory loss book soon! I really hope you have a better time with this book than I did :)

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  8. Awwww, I'm actually really interested to read this book and it sounds like a great contemporary YA but I'm sorry that you didn't quite enjoyed it!

    LOVE your honest review, Jasprit! ♥

    PS: I'm a new follower too! :)

    Celine @ Forget-Me-Not

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    1. Thanks Celine, you never know you may end up liking it, still give it a shot :)

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