Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino : Book Review

Storyline Rating : 2.5/5 stars

Brief Summary from Goodreads :

When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?

My Point of View :

I want to review it, but I don’t have the words for it. So I’ll just go straight to what I didn’t like…

The plot is so-so. I hate the characters :

1) Emiline – She complains too much. She couldn’t believe that no one understands her writings. Complains again. She can’t believe that J. Colby wrote HER story first, AFTER she got all angry about J. Colby publishing HER life story to the world. Did I mention that she was advised to write a book about herself (something like a memoir)? She did not want to explore her traumatic past and thus not writing a book based on her life (not even a fictional one). If I have to compare her to something, it’s probably a bottle of shaken Coke that’s probably going to go “Pop” anytime. She holds so much resentment and anger in her, it is a wonder that she have not gone mental. Despite being a character who was once abused, I could not seem to bring out the sympathy that I normally would for an abused character. I guess I just don’t like characters that are TOO whiny (at least she is whiny from my POV).

2) J. Colby aka Jase – He seems kind of TOO happy-go-lucky for a person that promised another that he would find her but didn’t for 12 years. His way of finding Emiline was to write a fictional book with an ending AND a dedication that she didn’t read until months later after she started the book. I mean….how long does it take a talented writer write a book? 12 years? Even plus minus those years I assume he suffers from working and supporting his mother, it’ll probably just take like 6 or 7 years to finally write the book and find Emiline. On top of that, he claims to love Emiline for 12 years but he slept with a LOT of women including his agent. Makes me wonder if he is having sex to get over some problems (you know….like some books where heroes sex his way to oblivion and forgets the world, which Jase definitely did not sound like it).

I don’t normally give bad reviews because I feel bad for not liking the book. Also I tend to stop reading the book, remove it from my TBR list and not even going to bother reviewing it, but I already finished 50% of the book and so…I finished it because I didn’t want to waste my effort. Seriously though, the plot of this book was not as great as the synopsis sounds and the characters are…well….it’s all explained above.

Favorite Quote : None from this book.


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