Verdict: THE YEAR OF THE CICADAS describes a terrible tragedy, but the storytelling needs some work to make it truly compelling, artful and engaging.
Catie Hartsfield relates her ordeal following her adult son’s 150-foot fall from a cliff during a hike. Surprisingly, the young man lives, but the family must deal with the traumatic brain injury (TBI) that remains. TBI affects an estimated 1.7 million Americans, most frequently among males and from falls, although the fall need not be as dramatic as Bryant Hartsfield’s for a TBI to result.
The book suffers from too much focus on telling it “as it happened,” with no sifting of details, so it reads more like a collection of diary entries, transcribed phone calls, and recorded conversations jumbled together, rather than a cohesive narrative that allows the reader to become immersed, sharing the narrator’s experience.. It may be completely accurate, but this doesn’t necessarily make for good storytelling.
The sentences have little variety, and the form doesn’t reflect the content. The tension of the narrator’s concern for her son, her sense of foreboding at the beginning of the story, is dissipated by digressions that would work better if related during the long hours of sitting at her son’s bedside. Replete with repetition and, at times, self-pity, the tale is slow rather than suspenseful or gripping; which is unfortunate, given the importance of the topic the story addresses.
THE YEAR OF THE CICADAS describes a terrible tragedy, but the storytelling needs some work to make it truly compelling, artful and engaging.
Reviewed by Jodi McMaster for IndieReader.