Book Review: The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors – Michele Young-Stone

Title: The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors
Author: Michele Young-Stone
ISBN: 9780307464477
Pages: 384
Release Date: April 13, 2010
Publisher: Shaye Arehaart Books
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Becca Burke is a young woman who has been struck multiple times by lightning, though her parents don’t believe her.  Buckley R. Pitank has also been affected by a strike, when lightning kills someone dear to him.  Devastated by his experience, Buckley writes a handbook for lightning strike survivors, which Becca buys and reads.  Lightning changes the lives of both these individuals, eventually bringing them together to help them understand their separate lives.

Review:

Michele Young-Stone’s debut novel defies any sort of plot summary.  While the book is seems to be about lightning strikes on the surface, that doesn’t even come close to describing its depth.  There are so many storylines that there is no way to really encompass everything that is going on in this book with just a short paragraph.

There are a lot of characters in The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, though Buckley and Becca the novel’s core.  While I did think both were expertly developed, Buckley was the character I really appreciated.  He experienced so much hardship at such a young age.  I hated that he felt like he had to punish himself because he thought bad things would happen if he was happy.  It shows how difficult his life was and what traumatic experiences can do to a young boy.  I loved watching him grow up, develop into his own person, and overcome the setbacks he had as a child.

The Handbook for Lightning Survivors starts out slow, and it takes some time for the breadth and depth of the story to develop.  As a result, readers might lose interest in the story before the narrative really evolves fully.  Additionally, the sheer number of characters is a bit overwhelming.  While very well-written, it makes the book seem as if it’s jumping all over the place. 

Despite these minor quibbles, I enjoyed The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors. Michele Young-Stone is an incredible writer, and the book is a joy to read as a result of her beautiful prose.  Additionally, excerpts from Buckley’s handbook are interspersed between chapters, giving the reader interesting tips on how to avoid be struck by lightning and deal with those who have.  As Young-Stone herself is a lightning strike survivor, it gives the book an added depth and really piques the reader’s interest.

Comments

  1. What a unique concept for a book! Nice review.

  2. What a unique concept for a book! Nice review.

  3. I have this one on my e-reader to review, and this is the one of the only reviews I have seen. I am glad to hear it’s such a good book and that it’s very deep. I will have to remember that it starts a little slowly though. Thanks for the awesome review!

  4. I have this one on my e-reader to review, and this is the one of the only reviews I have seen. I am glad to hear it’s such a good book and that it’s very deep. I will have to remember that it starts a little slowly though. Thanks for the awesome review!

  5. I may have to jot down some notes when I read this one since it has a lot of characters. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  6. I may have to jot down some notes when I read this one since it has a lot of characters. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  7. I remember Rebecca reviewing this one, and raving about it. If I do ever pick it up, it is good to know that I need to exercise patience. I’d hate to pack it up before it hits its stride.

  8. I remember Rebecca reviewing this one, and raving about it. If I do ever pick it up, it is good to know that I need to exercise patience. I’d hate to pack it up before it hits its stride.

  9. I’ve been wondering about this one, I have it on my TBR list but for some reason haven’t picked it up. I appreciate your review because I, too, get a bit thrown off when there are so many characters that the story jumps around.

  10. I’ve been wondering about this one, I have it on my TBR list but for some reason haven’t picked it up. I appreciate your review because I, too, get a bit thrown off when there are so many characters that the story jumps around.

  11. Like Sandy, I’ve had my eye on this one ever since Rebecca reviewed it. I’m glad to know it is a bit of a slow start, but I really can’t wait to read it now!

  12. Like Sandy, I’ve had my eye on this one ever since Rebecca reviewed it. I’m glad to know it is a bit of a slow start, but I really can’t wait to read it now!

  13. If done well, I really enjoy books with a giant cast of characters; it makes me feel like a part of the world.

  14. If done well, I really enjoy books with a giant cast of characters; it makes me feel like a part of the world.

  15. I’ve read some mixed reviews on this, but a majority of them have been positive. I’m interested in the narrative technique and how the book works using different narratives to explore one common theme.

  16. I’ve read some mixed reviews on this, but a majority of them have been positive. I’m interested in the narrative technique and how the book works using different narratives to explore one common theme.

  17. I was going to pass on this. I sounds good, but I just didn’t think it’d be for me. Now you have me second-guessing.

  18. I was going to pass on this. I sounds good, but I just didn’t think it’d be for me. Now you have me second-guessing.

  19. Hi. I’m Michele Young-Stone. Thank you for the wonderful review. I am really struck by your observation that Buckley feels the need to punish himself. I too love Buckley (of course) and oddly enough, he didn’t appear in the early draft until page 70. He is the soul of the novel. Thanks again!

  20. Hi. I’m Michele Young-Stone. Thank you for the wonderful review. I am really struck by your observation that Buckley feels the need to punish himself. I too love Buckley (of course) and oddly enough, he didn’t appear in the early draft until page 70. He is the soul of the novel. Thanks again!

  21. Wow! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!

    Recommended Reading
    Recommended Reading
    Recommended Reading

  22. Amazing! Its actually awesome piece of writing, I have
    got much clear idea regarding from this paragraph.

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