Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Amy Harmon - The Law of Moses

Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.
It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.
And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.
And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all...a love story.

Comment: I was given this book last Christmas from my friend H. I had the intention of reading it sooner but between trying to complete my personal lists and busy weeks at work here and there, only now did I finally got to it.

In this book we meet Moses and Georgia, two people who meet when children and who got reconnected when Moses comes back to live with his grandmother. Moses is a somewhat famous kid because everyone knows who his drug addicted mother left him in a basket and he was close to die before being rescued. 
Moses is a strange kid and weird still later on as a teenager. He paints wonderfully ut his choices of places to do so are very random and not always appreciated. Problems develop when Moses paints the images of girls who are missing and no one can find. 
Georgia is a neighbor who feels sorry for Moses, then wants to be his friend and later on they even got involved. But something happens that changes Moses' path in life and the future brings even more tragedy before Moses and Georgia can think about the love that brings them together... 

I'm not a new reader to this author. I've read other stories by her in the past and enjoyed them even though her characters are too much in that gray area of teenager towards a grown up, the so called "new adult" that I don't always like that much. This author is different because the story isn't all spent in one moment of the characters lives and there's some evolution in time, which helps me feeling more interested in reading her books.

In this story I can say that half the story is spent when Moses and Georgia are teenagers (18 and 17 if I remember correctly) but the second half is seven years later and that puts them a bit far along in terms of maturity. The plot itself also has some situations that are dealt with from a very emotional POV and that also brings some emotional depth to what happens. These two things together make the story appear more complex and angsty which appeals more when one thinks about the overall content.

Georgia and Moses go through some complicated issues, personally and about them as a couple. 
However, despite how serious the subject is and how emotional the response is when reading and imagining these scenarios in our heads, I must say I got the impression some things weren't that smoothly inserted in the story. Some things felt like the author has thought about them too much, wanted to add them and stressed some issues in a way that didn't feel fluid. I ended up thinking that what probably made me think like this was the choice of POV we have here: first person, and alternate chapters from Moses and Georgia.

First person often works out well, especially in stories where the "narrator" is someone whose voice we can't let go. But in this case, I'd have preferred to have third person, maybe the emotional content would have been better portrayed because it could encompass more than just one person's feelings. (Which weren't all that believable despite the angst)
I also think, when compared to her PNR or fantasy stories, these contemporary titles always offer a paranormal detail that isn't always well accomplished in this genre.

Moses is a fascinating character and he has this weird ability to see dead people who sort of give him clues - which he then paints - but he only thought it was his brain playing tricks on him because of how he was born of a drugged mother. On one hand, I really liked this aspect of the novel, it was different, interesting, allowed for many fascinating perspectives. But how it was portrayed...or people would just accept, while others didn't, too black and white...I just think this wasn't as well dealt as it could. But Moses was an engaging character and I lied him for the most part.

Georgia is someone the reader can sympathize with but she isn't that kind of memorable character...she is just likable and sweet enough to make us happy she will be happy. I think because of her simplicity of character - not personality! - to counterbalance Moses', the author has imagined quite angsty ways to make her more interesting but for me not always well enough.

At the end of the story, I was happy enough with the way things were solved, I confess I cried a few times but this is not the type of thing one couldn't see in any other book where similar subjects are dealt with.
Really too bad about the first person narrator. Perhaps it's just me, but I think too much importance was given to this tactic and not all stories are well presented in this manner nor are all writers like Ilona Andrews, for instance, whose talent for this tactic is superb perfection.
There is a sequel to this book that I'll try to get eventually, but it's not yet a priority.
Grade: 7/10

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