I’ve decided that when I’ve spent days (and sometimes weeks… because DNFs tend to take a lot more time) reading a book and have to give up on it, I want to give a quick explanation why. So welcome to what I’m calling a DNF report. It’s not a real book review but a quick report of why I had to call it quits and the time of death.
Time and Again by Deborah Heal
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Time and Again by Deborah Heal
Narrator: Michelle Babb
Series: History Mystery #1
Published by Write Brain Books on February 25, 2013
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Young Adult
Length: 5 hours 12 minutes
Abby thinks tutoring an “an economically disadvantaged adolescent” as her college service project for the summer will be a snap.
Merrideth, her sullen 11-year-old student, thinks “No thanks, I don’t need a babysitter.”
John thinks Abby’s kidding when she tells him she can fast-forward and rewind life. Not her own, of course, but that of the girl who lived in Merrideth’s house 160 years ago.
It’s difficult for Abby to break through Merrideth’s emotional wall. The girl has been closed down ever since her parents’ divorce, especially since she was forced to move to the dilapidated old house that her mom inherited. But when her dad sends her a top-of-the-line computer to make up for it, Abby and Merrideth discover a crazy program that invites them to “Take a Virtual Tour” of houses around the world— including Merrideth’s. It’s a tour all right… a tour of the past when the house was new and a girl named Charlotte Miles lived there.
It’s like being there, only better. They know Charlotte’s thoughts and feelings. They experience her joys and frustrations as she courageously takes on a huge challenge, risking her life for others while her father is off fighting in the Civil War.
Watching from a distance, Abby and Merrideth gain a new perspective on their own lives, their faith strengthened as time and again they see God’s loving hand in Charlotte’s life.
My Initial Thoughts:
I picked up Time and Again from Audiobook Jukebox, thinking that the story sounded unique and interesting. Plus I noted that it had an average rating on Goodreads over 4 stars. Unfortunately it didn’t deliver for me at all.
I started to DNF at the 20% mark because I thought, “this is only 5 hours, it would be lazy to DNF something that short.” But no. It’s nothing like what I was expecting, had lots of elements that just kind of rubbed me the wrong way, and the narration was not good.
Why it didn’t work for me:
– The narration! I listened to a sample briefly and for some reason thought it was okay or else I would have never requested Time and Again. But I was wrong. I felt like Michelle Baab was in a race – she just sped along with no variation in pace or tone for emotion. I eventually got used to it, but definitely would say it played a big part in my decision to DNF Time and Again.
– The way that Abby (the main character) describes and relates to Merrideth, the 11 year old that she is supposed to be tutoring, bordered on offensive for me. I get that this girl has problems. But the emphasis that the girl is fat and she only eats Kit Kats and named her cats Kit and Chip (for her two favorite foods – Kit Kats and chips) just was overboard. There’s more to this girl than being fat and I’d hope that Abby could see that. There’s an inkling that she’s starting to, but I couldn’t take anymore. But maybe this gets better and Abby realizes that she’s been far too judgmental?
– The thing is, I don’t think that’s likely because Abby has a very judgemental personality. She’s CONSTANTLY quoting Bible verses. I can handle religion being woven into a story where appropriate, but this had the preachy quality and that rubbed me the wrong way.
– Finally, the pace was just so SLOW. Abby is teaching Merrideth and we actually get to sit in on those lessons. Who wanted to relive grammar lessons when reading a book? Show of hands? Yeah, me either. We could have skipped that, especially since the lessons only felt like they were there to reiterate how stupid Abby thinks Merrideth is. As a tutor/teacher myself, I found it really sad and I felt like Abby was in the wrong field. Although the mystery finally got started around the 40% mark, I still found myself falling asleep, so I called it quits.
So it didn’t work for me and I’m calling it.
Time of death: 50%