Dismantled (Blog Tour)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Title: Dismantled
Author: Jennifer McMahan
Genre: Fiction, Literary Suspense
Harper (Harper Collins)
Release Date: June 2009 (original); May 2010 (paperback)

Holy cow... I had no clue what I was getting into when I started this book!! Dismantled was such an enthralling and utterly absorbing read! I absolutely loved this book and spent every free moment I could find reading more. Despite its 422 pages, it's likely one that could be read in a sitting (or a day) because of the way the story hooks the reader; (unfortunately, I literally don't have the time right now to read that much in one go so it still took me a couple days.)

Dismantled is a superbly written and well-plotted story about a 9-year-old girl, Emma, her parents, Henry and Tess, and a big secret from their past. More so, it's about Emma's childhood innocence, her efforts to keep her parents together, a chain of events seemingly started with a suicide, about family, guilt, fear, and a little bit of a ghost story too. Without giving anything away (won't tell more than what's on the back cover), Henry and Tess were once part of a group of 4 in college called The Compassionate Dismantlers. Initiated and led by their friend, Suz, the radical group embarked on missions to "stick it to the man" (my words, not in the book) -- to "dismantle" things because per their motto, "To understand the nature of a thing, it must be taken apart." Their acts of vandalism and other pranks transitioned from innocent to dangerous and, ultimately, Suz dies. Her death is hidden by the other members of the group and they all drift apart.

Ten years later, the story focuses on Henry, Tess, and their daughter, Emma. Something happens which I won't reveal, a former acquaintance commits suicide, and it sets off the events and tension that continue for the rest of the novel.

There were so many things I loved about this book! First, I wasn't quite sure how I'd like the ghost story aspect since I'm not all that into supernatural things. But the author did a spectacular job of including this element but leaving it subtle; she managed to simultaneously add it to the story while keeping the reader guessing about it which was fun and spooky at the same time! There were moments when I was a bit scared to go to sleep after reading... I used it as an excuse to continue on to the next chapter even though it was past time for bed just in case I could reach a good stopping point when I wasn't so spooked. ;)

The character development was also fantastic. The author excelled at showing the character, allowing the reader to learn about the characters through their actions, rather than telling the reader what to think. In that sense, Suz, the leader of the Compassionate Dismantlers, could be considered the main character. Though she's deceased, the memories of her are a large part of this book because of the long-lasting effects she has on the remaining group members. And although I despised her character, it's possible that others may see a different side of her because, again, the author doesn't tell the reader what to think. And seriously, what a strong, intense character she is.

Ironies of all kind consumed the book, increasing the tension. And the pacing was perfect. Though the story continued to progress, I had the opportunities to savor the writing and characters too. I can't fail to mention how significant the character of the daughter, Emma, was to the story. Her innocence and desire to be liked by her cool friend, Mel, play a large part in the craziness of the story! And she plays a part in the ironies I mentioned!

The ending surprised and gripped me, and suspense filled the last 50 or so pages of the book. I laughed at myself when my jaw dropped during one of the revelations near the end because of the sheer unexpected and cunning qualities that moment possessed. I'll admit the last couple pages just slightly disappointed me, but then making up for it, the last paragraph was the perfect ending and answered the one question I feared would go unanswered. And I loved the answer.

In many ways, Dismantled, was a portrait of a family, their struggles, and the child's efforts to keep it together. As you can tell, this book completely enraptured me! On a somewhat different note, I was able to have a copy of this book signed by the author, Jennifer McMahan, at BEA (after I had already signed on for this blog tour) and I wish I had read this book before that so I could have let her know in person how much I enjoyed this book!

Check out the previous stops of the tour:

Tuesday, May 18th: Rundpine
Wednesday, May 19th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Thursday, May 20th: Luxury Reading
Tuesday, May 25th: The Cajun Book Lady
Thursday, May 27th: Lit and Life
Monday, May 31st: I’m Booking It
Tuesday, June 1st: Drey’s Library
Wednesday, June 2ed: Bookalicio.us
Thursday, June 3rd: Chick With Books
Monday, June 7th: Regular Rumination
Wednesday, June 9th: Booksie’s Blog


Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

This book is definitely on my wish list, as I've been noticing it here and there; but your review just sealed the deal. I must have it!

Zibilee said...

I have been seeing this book all over the bookshops and have been wondering if it would be for me or not. I had kind of decided not, but after reading your wonderful review, I think I am going to pick this one up the next time I see it. It's so rare to read a book where there is more show than tell, and it also sounds as if the plot development and mystery aspects of the book are top notch as well. I am going to be looking forward to this one, and I thank you for your excellent review!!

Trisha said...

Wow, it looks like you really enjoyed this! That's awesome and a great reason for me to put this on the tbr list! Thanks for the review.

Jenny said...

Laurel -- hehe, I'm glad! Hope you love it!

Heather -- Hope you love it! I thought it was really well done!

Trisha -- Haha, hope you get to it soon and love it as much as I did!

A Joyful Chaos said...

Thanks for the great review. I have put this book on my reading list.

Connie said...

Oh, I felt exactly the same way! Yes! Yes! Everything you just said. :)

Cleverly Inked said...

Loved your review. It's being added to my TBR

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Jenny, I'm so happy you loved this book. This was the one I originally picked to read for the plane ride home from BEA because I heard so many great things.
I must read it soon. Your review really got me going!!


bookmagic said...

This sounds really good, you hooked me with your review!

Amy said...

I want to read this! I'm glad you found it so enthralling! (what a great word!)

heathertlc said...

ooh, this sounds like it would be REALLY intriguing! I can't believe I missed hearing about this author at BEA (well, I guess I can ... there were SO MANY AUTHORS there!).

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