Title: Oliver Loving
Author: Stefan Merrill Block
Genre: drama, literary fiction.
Is this part of a series? No.
Publication Date: January 16th, 2018
(Courtesy of Goodreads)
One warm, West Texas November night, a shy boy named Oliver Loving joins his classmates at Bliss County Day School’s annual dance, hoping for a glimpse of the object of his unrequited affections, an enigmatic Junior named Rebekkah Sterling. But as the music plays, a troubled young man sneaks in through the school’s back door. The dire choices this man makes that evening —and the unspoken story he carries— will tear the town of Bliss, Texas apart.
Nearly ten years later, Oliver Loving still lies wordless and paralyzed at Crockett State Assisted Care Facility, the fate of his mind unclear. Orbiting the still point of Oliver’s hospital bed is a family transformed: Oliver’s mother, Eve, who keeps desperate vigil; Oliver’s brother, Charlie, who has fled for New York City only to discover he cannot escape the gravity of his shattered family; Oliver’s father, Jed, who tries to erase his memories with bourbon. And then there is Rebekkah Sterling, Oliver’s teenage love, who left Texas long ago and still refuses to speak about her own part in that tragic night. When a new medical test promises a key to unlock Oliver’s trapped mind, the town’s unanswered questions resurface with new urgency, as Oliver’s doctors and his family fight for a way for Oliver to finally communicate — and so also to tell the truth of what really happened that fateful night.
A moving meditation on the transformative power of grief and love, a slyly affectionate look at the idiosyncrasies of family, and an emotionally-charged page-turner, Oliver Loving is an extraordinarily original novel that ventures into the unknowable and returns with the most fundamental truths.
Full disclosure, I didn’t finish this book. Actually, I didn’t even get through half of it. While I loved the idea of it (the blurb was amazing!) the writing style was too scattered. It went from one POV to another and while they were all labeled and each one had a different voice, it was hard to keep up between timelines. Also, the author was really verbose… like J.R.R. Tolkien verbose.
Now, this book is getting some really stellar reviews. I honestly think this is one of those books you either love or hate. Sadly I hated it, but if I had forced myself to keep going maybe- MAYBE- it would redeem itself. I just don’t have the time nor the inclination at this time. For me this is a two star book.
On the adult content scale, there is some violence and I don’t know what else because I gave up. I cannot in good conscious give it a number.
I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Flatiron Publishing in exchange for an honest review. My thanks.
The book comes out on 1-16-2018, has anyone read it? Thoughts?
Link to book: