Monday, June 19, 2017

Review: Water From My Heart by Charles Martin

Book clubs can make you go outside of your usual reading choices. This can be wonderful, allowing you to discover books that you would never have chosen on your own. There are several books I have found this way that I am the richer for having read. But just as you can find amazing books, you can also find duds. It's definitely a disappointment when the latter happens rather than the former, but it is a risk you take when you allow others to direct your reading for you. Charles Martin's Water From My Heart was, unfortunately, one of those disappointments although the group had quite a time teasing out all of our frustrations with the novel.

Charlie Finn is a drug runner. His childhood was terrible but he managed to overcome it and go to Harvard. Incredibly smart and successful, he ends up working for his wealthy girlfriend's father, a man with very little conscience. In his role in this hedge fund, he manages to buy a coffee plantation in Nicaragua, completely destroying the people who live and work there without a second thought. After realizing that Marshall, his boss/potential father-in-law, doesn't think he's good enough for daddy's little girl, he quits his job and bums around Miami until meeting his new best friend Colin, another fabulously rich person. He ends up working for Colin as a drug runner. Despite his unsavory job, he's a really good guy, a part of Colin's family, close with his children, and engaged to a lovely doctor. But then things go horribly wrong. Colin's son Zaul ends up on the run from bad guys. Maria, Colin's young daughter, is badly injured when Zaul's gambling buddies try to collect from him. And Shelly, Charlie's doctor fiance, dumps him because he's lied to her about his life. The only way that Charlie can begin to make good on everything he's done wrong is to go after Zaul and save him for Colin. As he tracks Zaul down to Central America, he meets Leena, her daughter Isabella, and the people of a small Nicaraguan town, who give him yet another chance to redeem himself and allow good to triumph.

The theme of redemption is very strong and Charlie is given every opportunity to right all his wrongs.  If his conscience so much as pricks him, he is given the opportunity to fix it.  All of the characters here are one-dimensional and the plot, outlandish just in summary, is given over with ridiculous  coincidences. Martin draws all of the poor people Charlie comes across as uniformly noble and good. Everyone, good and bad, reaps what he/she sows in this novel. It might be nice if life actually worked this way but it doesn't.  Nuance and realism are missing entirely in the telling of this tale.  Add the unrealistic outcomes of every character's story line to the sloppy, oftentimes hokey writing and this is a treacly mess.e

Because this was a book club book, I was taking notes on it but had to stop when I realized that noting each and every inconsistency (Charlie spends weeks in Nicaragua--and not with ex-pats either--and never learns any Spanish?  If he's able to conduct all the business which he's flown down for remotely, why on earth did he need to fly down at all? Leena can figure out what the US company did to ruin her father but didn't know a bank could call in a loan? Massive mudslides destroy just about everything in the area but the coffee and mangoes survive because they are too vital to the plot to wipe out? A 5 gallon bucket is large enough to carry a chunk of rock that has entombed two intertwined people? For that matter, the mud that entombed them has become rock in less than two decades? And so on.) was just making me angrier and angrier at the time it was taking to read this book. Perhaps there was a seed of something there since so many other people have loved this book (although not in my book club, I feel compelled to add) but the writing was poor, cliched, and heavy-handed and I just couldn't get beyond that.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I have had to disable the anonymous comment option to cut down on the spam and I apologize to those of you for whom this makes commenting a chore. I hope you'll still opt to leave me your thoughts. I love to hear what you think, especially so I know I'm not just whistling into the wind here at my computer.

Popular Posts