Title: One Step Too Far
Publisher: Krik Parolles
Pages: Kindle ed
Rating: 3/5 Stars
It's always good to broaden ones horizons and One Step Too Far is definitely a departure from my normal choice of books. There's nothing supernatural or macabre about it and it's not YA, which is what I've been reading a lot of lately. One Step Too Far is one of those genre defying books that would be shelved in the fiction/literature section of the bookstore. At least, that's where I'd put it.
One Step Too Far presents itself as a mystery of sorts according to the description and in a way, that is accurate. Tina Seskis reveals the details of Emily's past, as well as the event that sent her existence into a tailspin and prompted her to leave her happy marriage/home, very slowly. In terms of keeping me interested and engaged, Seskis definitely succeeded. Although, I didn't relate to the characters' lives, I was fascinated by what could be so horrible that Emily felt she had to leave everything and start over.
I glanced at some other reviews to remind me of everything that happens in this book which is something I don't normally do. I like to write my reviews strictly from my own perspective, without any outside influence. That said, in this case, I was reminded of the moment when all of the drama crossed the line from "believable story of a woman's battles with a traumatic experience" and into "tv-movie of the week" territory.
Event #1: Caroline and her boyfriend being involved in an explosion. The night Caroline's life is finally about to come together after an entire lifetime of disappointment and struggle, she is at a restaurant with her boyfriend when an explosion out on the street literally ruins everything. She loses the baby she finally decides that she wants and her anger with her boyfriend for the way he doesn't pay all of his attention to her (and possibly the fact that I think he's gay) lead them to go their separate ways. She always miscarries her baby.
Event #2: Emily gets trashed/high at a club, goes home with a famous footballer who just happens to bear a strong resemblance to the husband that she still loves, gets high again, spends the night with him and wakes up next to his naked dead body. She proceeds to get arrested in connection to his death and because he's famous, her face is splashed all over the news, leading her husband to find her and bail her out of jail, thus reuniting them.
There's also the bizarre circumstances of Emily's new best friend Angel's life, but she's a side character and meant to be the antithesis of Emily's life 'before', so I didn't have as much of a problem with that.
The above events, however, didn't sit well with me. They just seemed so over the top and impossible to believe. Books create certain worlds, certain contexts and even though the story is up to the creative mind of the author, there are certain things that just feel wrong. The magic of Harry Potter, for example, would feel all kinds of wrong in if it was used to save the day in a John Grisham novel. The violence of the explosion as well as the sudden death of the footballer just felt wrong. Rather than simply being shocked and saddened by what happened, I was left shaking my head and thinking "no one's life is actually like this."
Seskis is a fine author. Her grasp of language and the elements of writing is good and there was nothing technical that took me out of the book - even when she would bounce between first and third person depending on whether the story was in the present or the past. Plot-wise, however, this book became a little too fantastical for me to really enjoy in terms of the story it presented. Caroline had been anorexic and/or an alcoholic for much of her life, she could have easily miscarried without the explosion outside of the restaurant. Emily was doing a LOT of drugs and not handling it well which could have very easily led to her arrest and subsequent discovery by her husband. I don't think that the death of a famous sports hero was necessary.
I did enjoy reading the book and I was satisfied with the explanation of why Emily ran as well as the actual ending of One Step Too Far, but I feel like Seskis either needs to work on balance or she needs to re-evaluate the type of story that she wants to tell to be truly successful.