Thursday, December 20, 2012

loopyker's #CBR4 Review #09: Answer Me, Answer ME by Irene Bennett Brown

In my online library, a quote described Answer Me, Answer ME as “An excellent portrayal of a young woman's search for her true identity, a compelling story with just the right elements of mystery and romance.” Sounded like a potentially good, young adult book to me. I was sadly disappointed.

I listened to the audiobook, but I don't think that made a difference to my experience of the story. I can't imagine even the best narrator in the world making me anything but sorry I wasted my time. The only difference is that I didn't notice that the second “me” in the title is written “ME” until looking it up to write this review.

A young woman, Bryn Kinney, is on her own after her grandmother's death. Now at only 18 years old, she is wondering if her grandmother, the woman who raised her, was really in fact her biological grandmother at all and if she has any other family out there somewhere. She has never known who her parents were, so she sets off an a quest to search for answers about her past.

I did not connect with this book at all. I kept expecting something interesting to happen, for there to be some twist for that “mystery” element, but it didn't happen. No, you don't know who her parents are right away, but when things are revealed it is very anti-climatic and if you are paying attention you can figure most things out well ahead of time. As for what I didn't figure out, I didn't feel a strong enough connection to Bryn to really care about. The “romance” mostly meant that a guy was there and wanted to date her, but the big romantic tension was that she felt she couldn't socialize and look for clues to her past at the same time.

In general, there were no real conflicts in other areas either to create the tension necessary for a good story. And what attempts at conflict there were, seemed false to me so I just couldn't get into caring about the character at all. 

Young adults reading this now will also find the technology very out-dated and I expect they would have trouble relating to a search for family without the use of Google and other online options. It is getting harder and harder all the time for even someone my age to relate to that. In a lot of stories, a passing reference to this type of thing isn't a big deal, but in this book there is a lot of talk about how she is actually searching for information by following tips from a book. Many of those tips are still valid, but the lack of Internet searches is more glaring than usual. But maybe I wouldn't have noticed so much if I had been interested in the rest of the story more.

Author: Irene Bennett Brown
Reading level: Ages 12 and up

Narrator: Laurie Klein
Publisher: Books in Motion (December 16, 2008)
Duration: 6 hours, 23 minutes
ISBN: 9781605481456

208 pages
Publisher: iUniverse (October 20, 2000) (original publication 1985)
ISBN-10: 0595145051
ISBN-13: 978-0595145058

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