Give Me Liberty
Give Me Liberty, by Valerie Joan Connors, is terrible. The book reads like someone narrating a Lifetime movie: one-dimensional, wooden, and worst of all, boring. You can guess what is going to happen well before it does, no characters are anything but exactly what you expect them to be, and the writing is pedestrian.
The story follows Eva Larkin from her courtship with her boyfriend to her abusive marriage in Michigan to her following her dream to write novels in New York. Getting from point A to point B happens exactly like you expect it to. Nothing interesting, new, or exciting happens—even when a possibility presents itself, Connors does not take it. For example, when Eva gets to New York, she has a disastrous first job, and then gets the job of her dreams in publishing. Her new boss loves her, promotes to columnist without reading any of her writing, and supports her without question. Everything goes her way, except for her first husband.
The characters are more than one dimensional—they have one character trait. That includes Eva. She’s saintly. Her ex-husband Leo is an alcoholic. It is hard to see why Eva ever liked him. Besides her ex-husband, the men in her life are generous. The women are supportive. All of them. Every woman she meets in New York City, all five of them, are older, rich, and willing to give Eva money, support, and love without question. And all of them have been abused, and saved by loving second husbands. She and son, Daniel, have no long-term effects of severe abuse, stalking, and assault. No one resembles a real person.
Connors’ dialogue sounds nothing like actual conversation. Characters state their feelings without subtext, or anything approaching conversational language. For example, one character asks Eva about a potential date. The question is “Is he good looking? Smart?” Eva’s response is “I guess so... He’s a little older than me.” That’s the entire explanation of him. Most of the conversations in the book sound exactly like that. No personality, no slang. Every character sounds exactly the same.
As I said, Give Me Liberty is not a good book. The characters need more depth, the writing needs to be sharpened, and the plot could use a twist somewhere. It feels like a first draft. Wait for the next one.