Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Lighter Shade of Gray / Devon Pearse

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Literary Fiction

Approximate word count: 145-150,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


“Devon Pearse was born and raised in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida. As a child, she was surrounded by classic literary works and grew to love and cherish them as dear old friends. It was only natural that she would dream of one day being an author and joining the ranks of the creators of these other worlds, unforgettable characters and thought provoking prose.”


“What does it feel like to stare into the face of madness? Or to anticipate your own? Would you drive away your only love? Could you pretend it didn't matter? How far would you go to protect a friend, or to avenge a death?”


Characterized  in the official descriptions as “semi-autobiographical,” I’ll leave it to you to decide which parts are true and which aren’t (your guess is as good as mine). I’ll often find that books I or someone else describes as “literary fiction,” like this one, show deftness with language (which this does), but have a story that isn’t that entertaining or that I care about. I’ll take a good mystery, thriller, or other genre fiction that uses plain language to tell a compelling story over much literary fiction. A Lighter Shade of Gray (which I believe beat those other gray books into publication and shouldn’t be confused with them) has beautiful language and a story I could care about.

Devon Pearse (yes, the protagonist and author’s names are the same) has a mother whose mental illnesses eventually lead her to a rural group home and leave Devon afraid for the future. Are the causes genetic? Devon is fearful that she’s seeing a glimpse of her future and is unwilling to commit to her boyfriend, or even allow him to commit to her. In fact, Devon goes through much of life making decisions influenced by what might happen. There is some mystery and potential romance to liven up the story as well. It was a story that drew me in slowly, but once it got a hold of me, it wouldn’t let go.


Some adult language.

Format/Typo Issues:

The Kindle version I received for review had some issues with hyphens in words where they obviously didn’t belong. These appeared to be an artifact from formatting for a paper version.

No significant typos.

Rating: ***** Five stars


Ruth Madison said...

I often avoid literary fiction for the reasons you mentioned. Thanks for letting us know that the story here is also compelling.

Too bad about the title; I think it's bound to be hurt by looking like a "shades of gray" knock off or someone trying to capitalize on its popularity.

Judi Moore said...

I agree about the title: pity.

Also a pity about the hyphens. Is there still a need for hyphenated words at line ends in printed material these days? And even if there is, if one returns to the file from which the pbook was prepared and formats very lightly for Kindle, does that not take care of the problem?

BooksAndPals said...

The title might get attention from people she wouldn't otherwise. Visibility is generally good, but could cut both ways.

I think things like the hyphens happen because the process the author or publisher (in this case, I think it is a small press) don't take such things into account when setting up their process. They were optimized for paper books and I'd guess didn't consider everything when integrating the creation of electronic books into the process. Big publishers have loads of these kind of issues. The hyphen one I see a lot from them, despite reading very few of their books.

Jessica L Buike (AuthorJess and Operation Relax) said...

Great review! I linked to your review on my list of books to avoid (me personally, not everyone as a whole) on my blog post today: . Feel free to stop by and check it out! :)