POVone: The First Person Perspective

Rants and Reviews on Novels Written in the First Person Point of View

Tag Archives: New York

Book Review: Watch Me Go by Mark Wisniewski

Author: Mark Wisniewski
Title: Watch Me Go
Genre: Literary
Publication Date: January 2, 2015
Publisher: GP Putnam (Random House)
Number of Pages: 320
Narrators: Deesh and Jan
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B, Very Good; of the first 66 reviews, the average reader rating was 85.15%.

Watch Me Go by Mark Wisniewski

What’s It About?

Deesh (Douglas Sharp) is a 30-something year old absentee father doing odd jobs with a few friends from his high school basketball team. When he and his friends take a nice-paying job to remove a large drum from under a woman’s house, his world is turned upside down. Through a series of missteps, Deesh ends up being framed for three murders. As he discusses his actions with a court appointed attorney, he sees little hope of proving his innocence.

Jan is a young woman growing up in the culture of thoroughbred racing. As she develops a relationship with the son of a legendary jockey, she reveals that she herself wants to be jockey–even though she is a woman. As Jan learns more about the world of thoroughbred racing, though, she discovers a culture of corruption that ultimately leads to her losing someone she has grown to love dearly.

With each chapter told alternately through the eyes of Deesh and Jan, the relationship between the two narrators is tied together within the final few pages. Deesh may just get the chance to have his innocence proven, and Jan may find justice for the victims of the culture in which she lives.

Should You Read It?

If you like the kind of story that weaves together multiple seemingly unrelated stories in a dramatic conclusion, you’ll probably like this book. The mood that hovers over each narrative is grim–with both characters feeling stuck in the circumstances of their respective environments. Nevertheless, the novel ends on somewhat of a hopeful note. If you like a good character-driven work that builds up steadily to a dramatic climax, I would give this a shot.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Interview with Huffington Post, Interview with Examiner

Book Reviews: Star Tribune, Kirkus Reviews

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Mark Wisniewski: Show Up, Look Good (2011), All Weekend with the Lights On (2007), Confessions of a Polished Used Car Salesman (1997)


Book Review: Making Nice by Matt Sumell

Author: Matt Sumell
Title: Making Nice
Genre: Literary
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt (Holtzbrinck)
Number of Pages: 240
Narrator: Alby
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: D+, Bad; of the first 48 reviews, the average reader rating was 69.17%.

Making Nice by Matt Sumell

What’s It About?

Alby is a crass and aggressive 30 year old man from a dysfunctional family. When his mother dies of cancer, he begins to reminisce on various instances in his life. He talks of fights he gets into with his siblings, conversations with his drunken father, and his awkward encounters with strangers.

Within each episode Alby recounts, the reader gets a sense of how complex Alby is–at once brutally honest and psychologically disturbed. Despite his vulgarity and inexplicable rage, a subtle undercurrent running through his narrative suggests he wants to do better–to “make nice” with those around him.

Should You Read It?

If you enjoy the sort of novel that consists more or less exclusively of the discursive ramblings of a mentally disturbed narrator, this book is for you. Think The Catcher in the Rye with a lot more F-words and crude sexual references. (Needless to say, if you’re sensitive to vulgar language, this is not for you). All of that being said, the tone of the novel–despite its graphic content–is surprisingly light and witty. The narrator’s non-sensical observations are laced with sarcasm that is quite comedic in all of its randomness.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Interview with NPR

Book Reviews: The Guardian, The Rumpus, The Irish Times

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Matt Sumell: Making Nice is Matt Sumell’s debut novel.

Book Review: My Father’s Wives by Mike Greenberg

Author: Mike Greenberg
Title: My Father’s Wives
Genre: Literary
Publication Date: January 20, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Number of Pages: 240
Narrator: Jonathan Sweetwater
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: C, Average; of the first 98 reviews, the average reader rating was 77.35%.

My Father's Wives by Mike Greenberg

What’s It About?

Wall Street executive Jonathan Sweetwater has the perfect life. He is moderately wealthy and happily married with two young children who adore him. Traveling frequently for work, he doesn’t get a chance to spend much time at home. But, when he is home, the Sweetwaters are one big happy family–that is, until Jonathan comes home from work early one day.

Meaning to surprise his wife, Claire, he instead ends up being surprised by her. Hearing a noise coming from the guest room, he approaches the door and peers through the keyhole. What he sees rocks his world–a man he doesn’t recognize is getting dressed and sitting on the bed is unmistakably the nude back of his wife. Claire is having an affair.

Rather than confronting her, Jonathan leaves and returns later. The man is gone, and the bed is made–like nothing ever happened. After attempting to subtly weasel a confession out of Claire to no avail, Jonathan resorts to hiring a private investigator at the suggestion of his boss–just to be sure.

As Jonathan waits for news on his wife’s affair, he begins to explore the life of his deceased father–who had been married to six other women besides his own mother. Meeting with each of his father’s wives, Jonathan seeks to understand more about him. What kind of man was he? Why did he marry so often? In understanding the life of his father, Jonathan hopes to gain some perspective on his own–and perhaps even save his fragile marriage.

Should You Read It?

If you are a fan of Mike Greenberg as a sportscaster, you will get a taste of the play-by-play action in Jonathan’s one-on-one game with Michael Jordan. But, aside from the passion for basketball shared between Jonathan and his boss, the novel has nothing to do with sports. If you enjoy a good literary work on mystery in relationships and past secrets that shape characters in the present, this novel will be right up your alley. There is a good bit of dialogue, but most of the story consists of Jonathan’s introspection about himself, his father, and the family he is trying to keep together despite being his father’s son.

Links and References

Author Information: Wikipedia, Mike and Mike, Twitter

Book Reviews: New York Times, Kirkus Reviews, BookNAround

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Mike Greenberg: All You Could Ask For (2013), Why My Wife Thinks I’m an Idiot (2007)

Book Review: Little Black Lies by Sandra Block

Author: Sandra Block
Title: Little Black Lies
Genre: Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Mystery
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Publisher: Grand Central (Hachette)
Number of Pages: 352
Narrator: Zoe Goldman
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B, Very Good; of the first 50 reviews, the average reader rating was 85.6%.

Little Black Lies by Sandra Block

What’s It About?

Zoe Goldman, a young psychiatrist newly relocated to her hometown of Buffalo, New York, has started having the dreams again. She is a small child, cowering in a corner with blood on her hands. She smells something burning, hears an eerie whirring noise, and someone is calling her name…

Zoe knows the recurring dream is part nightmare and part memory. She has been told by her adoptive mother (who now has dementia) that her real mother died in a fire when she was really young. When she has the dream, she reasons, she’s remembering fragments of that incident. But she can’t shake the feeling that there is more to the dream than what her mind is letting her remember. So, she works with her own psychiatrist to try and figure it out.

Meanwhile, she resumes her work at the mental hospital engaging in everyday dialogue with her colleagues and assisting a number of patients. One new patient in particular, Sofia Vallano, really draws Zoe in. She can’t help but think there’s something more to Sofia, but she can’t put her finger on it. But, whatever it is, it makes her uncomfortable.

As Zoe digs deeper to uncover the meaning of her dream and understand the truth about her birth mother, she discovers the reality of her past and why her mind has kept it hidden for so long. She may not be who she thinks she is.

Should You Read It?

If you enjoy a good psychological thriller, you will love this book. The story doesn’t have a great deal of action; most of the plot revolves around Zoe trying to figure out her dream. But there are plenty of twists and turns–plenty of mystery and intrigue that build up to a dramatic conclusion.. There is also a great deal of dialogue. While Zoe’s internal state is troubled and dismal at times, the conversations she has with her colleagues and adoptive family are light and witty. The tone keeps your emotions on edge, oscillating beautifully between comic and eerie.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter

Book Reviews: Publishers Weekly, Examiner, The Big Thrill

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com