A hearty congrats is due to one of my favorite bloggers, JACP, on becoming a published novelist! While she's been (phenomenally) in print before, this is way different; her first book was a memoir so this is the first time we get to see her creativity and insight in fiction. And I am impressed.
Tzipi has chosen a meaningful, relevant theme, expressed it through a very original content choice, and written it in a style both original and pleasing. Add that to the humor in realism we have come to expect from her, and we have a real winner on our hands.
I don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't yet managed to get their hands on a copy (well, what other excuse would you have for not reading it yet?) so I'll just touch on a couple of points:
While the format (not your typical narrative!) took some getting used to and seemed potentially annoying at first, I ended up applauding that choice. Besides for lending an original character to the book, it keeps the reader moving along at a smooth clip. Between the dialogue, writings, and narrative, you never get that feeling of dragging through the print.
Telling a story through the thoughts of a person with selective mutism is an extremely original and quite ingenious way to examine greater themes of communication and relationships. Very, very clever. However, I'm a trifle concerned that it may be too clever. Not because Tzipi didn't weave her themes well enough, but because I don't trust the majority of the intended audience to appreciate the subtle messages. And although Tzipi has been very careful in her portrayal of selective mutism, the case in point is rather unusual, so I wonder if it mightn't inadvertently deepen misperceptions of the condition. Hopefully I'm just underestimating the depth of the average reader...
Of course, you can't really judge a book until you've reached the end; the entire journey hangs on the point of arrival. Fear not -- the final pages of Invisible Me are both satisfying and definitely un-cliché! The only problem is that it is liable to leave readers shouting "Encore!" So, Tzipi, thanks for the read but I hope your pen is still moving merrily along!