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If you could sum up Don't Stand So Close in three words, what would they be?
A psychiatrist has a traumatic encounter. Instead of dealing with what happened afterwards, she sinks into a grey fog of stagnation and dependency. She presses pause on her life. But then a combative teenager girl rings her doorbell, and it brings a gust of unwanted truth into her haze of a life. The story begins with the girl at the door.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Blue Cunningham. The author really captured a troubled, seductive teenager quite well. I even felt quite sympathetic for the "adult" who mishandled the situation with her.
Have you listened to any of Julia Barrie’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I haven't, but she has a lovely voice, and she captured a sophisticated, troubled woman as well as she captured a emotional, troubled teenager.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Not at first, but after a little while, for sure.
Any additional comments?
I felt a little frustrated the main character Stella didn't see more of what happened coming (it was apparent to me that her first client was a narcissist, but she didn't see it right away), and same with another guy in her life, but therapists have their blind spots just like regular people. She was still an observant therapist. So was her boss. The way it went backwards in time worked for me. I'm surprised it worked as well as it did. It felt quite smooth actually- what was revealed was revealed in time, even though the whole of it was not chronological.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
What would have made Don't Stand So Close better?
I feel like the characters were quite one-dimensional. Despite what they were going through I couldn't muster up much compassion for anyone. I feel like the story jumped around too much and this might be okay when written, but when heard this could get a little confusing. It seems like there was a much richer story to be told, at times it felt like I was listening to a second novel in a series.
What could Luana Lewis have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
More time could have been spent describing the characters, explaining their motivations and backstories. Stella seemed a bit like an empty shell even as the main character in the sections of the story before her trauma. Despite my complaints about the lack of depth in the novel I feel like the ending dragged.
What aspect of Julia Barrie’s performance might you have changed?
Sometimes I feel like the intonation for Blue was a bit off for example, when she should have sounded shocked she might sound flat. Whilst there's always room for interpretation this struck me a few times.
You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?
I enjoyed Peter's character, I also think that the description of Stella's rape was very well written. I felt very uneasy listening to this and it is probably one of the more shocking, desolate descriptions of rape I have ever read. It will stick with me for some time.
Any additional comments?
I hate to pan a novel, especially when it appears to be the author's first, but I just don't feel like this book lived up to my expectations at all. It's not without it's charm though and I would be tempted to listen to something else by Luana Lewis.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
As a first book this isnt too bad and shows future promise. The editing and storyline needed a lot of tidying up - just how many psychopathic child abusers can you cram into a thriller? The narration was very poor with most male voices being interchangeable. Ok, I might back my payment from audible but I have lost 10 hours of my life :-(
2 of 2 people found this review helpful