Reviewed by Tyson
Bend Me, Shape Me
Debra R. Borys
Despite my frustration with not being able to get my Kobo to read the epub file, I breezed through Debra R. Borys’ second instalment in her ‘Street Stories’ suspense series. Written in third person with three alternating points of view, Bend Me, Shape Me touches on the subjects of homeless youth, drug abuse and mental health, while working to incorporate a suspenseful plot. From the get-go, I was drawn in by the pitch and first chapter of the book, where Snow, one of the three main characters, and Blitz, her homeless friend, are battling it out in a squat house. The situation only gets worse when Blitz slits his own throat, leaving Snow blood soaked and riddled with guilt. This allows us a glimpse into the tortured Snow and her shady past that is continually hinted at throughout the novel until the second to last chapter when everything is revealed.
If you’re looking for a quick, easy read with an intriguing plot and interesting subplot, then I do recommend you pick up a copy of this novel. There are many things to like about Borys’ writing style and content wise Bend Me, Shape Me has a fair amount of meat for you to feast on. With gritty and harsh moments, you’ll be drawn into the story and constantly wondering ‘what’s next’.
That said, Debra. R. Borys’ novel did fall short in a couple of areas, which turned this book from a four-star to a three.
First, the editing. I honestly think with a great editor this novel would have made the leap from a quick and easy read to one I couldn’t put down. The handful of incorrectly used ones words isn’t a big enough issue for me to knock a star off, but I am mentioning it because I feel anyone looking to publish a novel needs to ensure their penny is as shiny as possible before showing it off. Rookie issues irk me, especially when it’s a missing word or one that’s repeated too often. Thankfully, Bend Me, Shape Me isn’t riddled with these errors so these annoying typos didn’t actually drive me to put the book down.
What did knock off a star was the lack of depth in the characters and the slapped together ending. I honestly don’t know what reporter and bleeding heart Jo Sullivan looks like. Despite her being another of the three main characters, I am left with a big gap when it comes to her face, her style, and even mannerisms. This is the same for all the other characters as well. They are faceless nobodies.
Seventeen year old Snow is African American/Hispanic and Aboriginal, yet all I know is she has red tips to her hair. Leonard Goldenhawk, the last of the three leads, is described as old with a braid. As for the not-so-good Doctor Levinson, the author doesn’t even try to feign his innocence at all, which kind of renders the ta-da moment at the end pointless.
And yes, apart from the faceless cast, there is that ending. It was sudden, like slam on your brakes sudden. What takes thirty chapters to set up, is solved in three. Yet not really solved at all. Everything felt rushed, forced and contrived, and I was left with a bucket full of questions in regards to Levinson and his practices, Jo and her father, Snow’s role with the Yakama people, Jack’s relationship to Jo, and the general well-being of Alley and his mental health . Granted, this is the second book in a series, so maybe some of these questions will be answered later, but I was simply left wanting more.
After ruminating for a couple of days, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is an entertaining enough read with potential to be much more. It’s weird reading a novel and being satisfied and disappointed at the same time.
Honestly, its punch could have been so much more powerful.
Bend Me, Shape Me