Unreliable narrators are a tricky thing for me. I love – love – the idea of them. As a subject of conversation, they fascinate me! My book friends know I can natter on about them for a goodish while. In practice, however, I find they’re rather a tough act to pull off. The title character of Amity Gaige’s Schroder is such a one.
He bugged. Okay, yes, I know – he was supposed to. But I find in the unreliables I enjoy that there’s something, some tiny little something about them that worms its way into my heart. With Eric Schroder? Nothing. His mannerisms, his word choices, his bold delusions – all desk-bangingly annoying. Read-a-page-as-fast-as-I-can-to-find-more-plot kind of annoying. When you’re wishing the book away? That’s bad. That’s defeatist. That character was created in such a way on purpose. You’re supposed to want to deconstruct him. Find out why he chose to be that way. Or why he was created that way. Trick out his nature and nurture and the questions about identity.
But something about Schroder just fell short. There wasn’t any warmth for me, and without any sort of connection, it felt like just another story. Smartly written, it was obvious, but I couldn’t connect. Even though I rather enjoy discovering identities and self-discovery (or delusion) and kidnappings and confessions. Borrow it, sure. But if you’re going to buy, beware that this isn’t a book you’ll want to cuddle up to; at best it’ll be good for a hearty examination at arm’s length. (2 of 5 stars)