Monday, July 12, 2010

Boneman's Daughters

I read Boneman's Daughters by Ted Dekker over the weekend. I checked it out at the library. It's one of those books that sucks you in and doesn't let go. The novel is about intelligence officer Ryan Evans who returns home after a mentally traumatizing experience in Iraq to find his wife in the arms of another man and the resentment of his daughter for never being there for her. Life turns into hell when Ryan's daughter is taken captive by Boneman, a serial killer who murders his victims, all teenage girls, by breaking their bones without breaking their skin. And *cringes at cliche* Ryan will stop at nothing to save her. Ultimately, it's about a father's unstoppable love for his daughter.

This story is mind-blowing. There are some amazing metaphors of God's love and Satan's hatred for us. It brought things home for me in a way that had never happened before, stirred up my mind so that I found it impossible to fall asleep until about 3 AM last night, after finishing the book five hours earlier.

The amount I relate to Ryan was surprising. It was on a mental level, not a life-experiences level, of course. He's used to making purely logical decisions but learns that emotion isn't all bad. He makes use at times of his ability to suppress emotion to do what needs to be done. He is very, very much like me in some areas, in the way he thinks, which I found interesting (now you can go read it and come to all the wrong conclusions about the way I think ;-]).

For me, part of the power of Dekker's writing is its simplicity. It's nothing fancy. When I read his books, the writing almost doesn't exist. I'm in it, living through the eyes of the characters, so I see the story, not the words, if you know what I mean. I've never read books with characters more real than his. They come alive. They could be real people you walk past on the street everyday. Dekker's writing immerses me in their minds, in their worlds (this is one reason I dislike his book Green so much - he spends a lot of time in the villains' points of view, and it's hard to distance myself because they're so lifelike. Considering how unpleasant the villains are, it's not an enjoyable read). There were a few instances where his writing tripped me up (liking repeating the same words too close to each other a couple of times). I had to laugh when he used the simile "like a bat out of hell" once. He way, way overused that phrase toward the end of my favorite of his books, Saint. I've noticed that he tends to pick up pet words or phrases per novel (like in Blessed Child, it was the word "ambiguity") and uses the life out of them, but I didn't notice him doing that in Boneman's Daughters.

Some people say the book sounds too creepy for them, but it didn't creep me out at all until I neared the end (which may be because I'm such a well-grounded person [Oh look, a birdie. I wish I could fly. Let's fly to Narnia; this world stinks]). Where was I? Oh right, creepy. Yes, I was okay with it. I didn't feel the urge to check the locks on all the doors when I finished. But I would really have to know someone's mind to say whether or not I thought this book would bother them. There are some very disturbing elements, obviously. And, as I said, it's very intense. At times, a single line felt like a slug* to the face. If you're a parent you might have an especially hard time getting through it. But I found it one of the most worthwhile reads ever. No excerpt or review can do it justice.

*I am not here referring to "any of various snail-like terrestrial gastropods having no shell or only a rudimentary one, feeding on plants and a pest of leafy garden crops."

No comments:

Post a Comment