Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: Who Is He To You by Monique D. Mensah

Rating: 3 Stars
Pages: eBook
Genre: Fiction (Drama)
Series/Standalone: Book 1 in Malignant Mind Series 
Publication Year: 2010
Source: Purchased

Synopsis (Goodreads):
Simone, a shockingly beautiful teen, is on the downward spiral of destruction as she battles incest and self-hatred; she finds cutting to be the only way to relieve her pain. Jessica lives the upscale lifestyle of a refined society matron. She strives to be the perfect wife, but without her husband, Ross, she would be nothing more than the abused stripper he rescued 16 years ago. Ryan, a fiery thirty-something, is quickly slipping into depression and prescription drug-addiction as her boyfriend, Anthony, artfully dangles the empty promise of marriage. As the shattered lives of three very different women collide, they find that they have one thing in common: they are all in a desperate fight to hang on to love. But when love involves incest, self-mutilation, drug-addiction and murder, will they continue to fight or will they find the strength to escape before it's too late? Experience their emotional journey through to the shocking end where these women will experience injury, imprisonment and even death while crafting new lives from the ashes of their ruination.

This review contains spoilers.  Read at your own risk.

I was looking for what genre to classify Who Is He To You in, both B&N and Amazon have it listed under drama, which is very fitting.  This is a drama filled book all three of three of the female main characters experience nothing buy drama, rarely is there a normal moment in their lives.

Before I get to the drama and the main characters, let discuss the title.  For me the title Who Is He To You gave away the twist in the book (there is always the fact that I think there should be a question mark).  Combine the title with other clues in the book, I knew the twist before I got to it.  In fact, it frustrated me that Mensah waited so long for the big reveal, when everything fell into place.  Then there were times when I wonder if the author was awry of the fact that the puzzle was so easy to piece together for me the reader and she did it intentionally.  But either way, when the big reveal finally came out, I merely shrugged my shoulders.  Kind of disappointed that she used the method that she did.

I have read plenty of reviews on this book and looked forward to reading it.  I really wanted to get to know each of the characters and about their lives.  Instead, I ended up finding out that all the characters were damaged.  Not just slight imperfections, but truly emotionally, psychologically damaged.  Each and everyone of them (mainly the main characters and most of the secondary characters).  All of them needed counseling and probably a couple of prescriptions.  It made it hard for me to root for any of them.

Simone is 14 years old, beautiful and being molested by her father.   She is the character that the reader is suppose to be the most sympathetic to because of her situation and her age.  At times I felt think shaking her.  There is one chapter where she ignores all the warning signs (even her own misgiving) and walks straight into a dangerous situation. All I could think was that I saw this coming, she saw this coming why did she walk straight into it.  Why is she surprised at the outcome?  Out of all the characters I liked her the most.  Even if I felt that her character was inconstant at times.

Jessica is Simone's mother and completely unaware of what is going on between Simone and her father.  She has issues from her past that affect her self-esteem.  She doesn't feel that she deserves the life that she has been given.  Her relationship with Simone's father, Ross, is so unbalanced and she just wants to keep her family together.

The synopsis doesn't even began to fully explain the crazy mess that is Ryan.  She basically is a mess.  Mensah describes Ryan as a woman with an addiction, to drugs and love.  Really, what seems to be the problem is that she suffers from at most a panic disorder and probably a mood disorder.  I really didn't like how this was glanced or and so easily resolved.  After breaking up with Anthony (aka Ross), she was able to overcome her addiction to pain killers and him in three days.  Not very realistic at all.

Anthony/Ross is the most disturbed at all.  He justifies his molesting of his daughter because of some Oedipus complex crap he had for his mother.  He justifies his treatment of his wife because she was too willing to please.  And his affair with Ryan was because he was his father's son.

I did like the plot.  I liked how Mensah gave the reader background on Anthony/Ross and how he became the man that became.  She did the same thing with Jessica which later helped justify some of the things that she was willing to do and did.  I only wish that she had done the same thing with Ryan, who felt kind of incomplete.

Even though I didn't like the characters I did like the story overall.  I wanted to see what happened and how it played out. The last 200 "pages" went by quickly, the action really picked up and I was on the edge of my seat to see what happen next.  It didn't quite play out like I thought it would.  And Mensah did end up wrapping everything up with a little bow, but I think the whole mess ended the why that it should have.

One of the biggest issue I had was with formatting.  It was horrible and all over the place.  I think its because I  brought my copy from Barnes and Nobles for my nook and the author used Smashword as her distributor.

Someone contacted me through Goodreads and said that my the settings on my Nook may have been causing my formatting issues.  I checked it out and set it to publishers default and the text size to the smallest.  That solved most of the formatting issues, but it seems to have made the text to small for me to comfortably read (I don't need glasses for reading).  So, if you are having a problem with formatting while reading an e-book it might be your settings.

Pros: Plot, Action, Drama
Cons: Characters

Overall Recommendation:

I would recommend this book.  Monique D. Mensah is a good story teller.  I have a feeling that the next books in the series will be better and I am going to read them.  From what I can gather the next one can be read as a standalone.  I am interested to see what Mensah thinks of next.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Monique,

    I learned about your review here on your blog from a Google alert. Thank you for reading WHO IS HE TO YOU. I appreciate the detailed critique. I love the feedback, both positive and critical, as I strive to continue to learn and grow as a writer. Also, I didn't realize that the formatting was all over the place for the Nook version. Thanks for the heads up. I will look into it ASAP. Thanks again for reading. I do hope that you enjoy the next book, INSIDE RAIN. Take care, and keep reading!

    Monique D. Mensah
    Author of WHO IS HE TO YOU