on July 23, 2011 :
What happens when something impossible is proven true? What happens to people when the truth is simply too hard to accept?
Shared arrives at the impossible truth slowly. It draws the reader in because we need answers to the questions laid before us.
Rachel is just a child, a very special child suffering from an affliction that has no name. Set in 1800, a time where both medicine, religion and culture all had the potential to polarise belief and understanding. As we learn more about Rachel the shocking truth is hinted at and eventually proven. It is revealed so well that it does not feel that impossible after all. The title of the book is our first clue. What is it that is shared'? It is life? Is it reality? Or maybe their very soul? The story continues as Rachel's own God fearing mother struggles to understand - and begins to suspect her child is the result of evil. Everyone who knows and loves Rachel has their own struggle of belief. Her doctor, her priest and her father. Some are able to accept her and some are not.
When the story moves to the opposite side of the world, New Zealand - we see a completely different way of living and of viewing the sick little girl. The native Maori people are not bound by religion or oppressed by society. They do not see Rachel as sick at all. They see her as she truly is and accept her because even though they have never met her, they have known her all her life.
Shared is a story of opposites. Opposites sides of the earth and cultures. Religion versus atheism. Science versus creation. We are torn between taking sides, but left feeling comfortable choosing elements from both. With so much division there is only one person who shares everything, yet takes no sides. Rachel - a child with a special gift.
I don't want to give too much away. But what I will tell you is that Shared will linger with you long after you turn the last page. The questions its raises, the solutions it offers, the beauty is portrays, will be pondered for a long time.
(reviewed 17 days after purchase)
on Jan. 23, 2011 :
I thought "Shared" was an awesome novel. Everytime I thought I knew what would happen something else happened. Definitely not what I call a light read. The characters acted true to form as real people do...we believe they should do or act a certain way but no, they have to prove us wrong so much of the time. The descriptions of the New Zealand & Maori areas were a wonder to read. I would recommend this to anyone that I know who has an open mind!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Dec. 22, 2010 :
'Shared' is a thought-provoking, philosophical story that is at times heavy going, but unlike anything I've read before. I was enamoured of Rachel, the little girl who is the main character, but greatly angered by others in the novel. However, even when I was irritated by those characters, I still couldn't stop wondering what would happen next and what was behind the mysterious 'faints' that Rachel suffers.
I felt that the novel became heavier on faith, religion and philosophy as it went on, and I have to say it made me lose interest to some extent. I loved the interactions between Rachel and her family, was outraged on her behalf when she was poorly treated and pleased when things went well, but I found that the greater the focus on faith and religion, the less engrossed I was.
On the plus side, I was fascinated by the descriptions of colonial New Zealand and Maori culture, interested in the implications of Rachel's condition and genuinely came to like many of the characters. 'Shared' isn't a light, fluffy holiday read, but if you stick with it, it can be inspiring and raise many philosophical questions.
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
on Sep. 24, 2010 :
"Shared" is a unforgiving and unforgettable tale that will linger long after you put it down. The style is merciless and I can only hope it is appreciated by those who read it. The rhythmic tone waves from one world to the next, taking the reader into one life and then, pulling them out to awaken in another. At first, I was disoriented at the lack of *** to indict a shift in time, but then I realized what a stylistic necessity it was to omit the breaks from the pages. Often, writer's bend to format habits to please the general reading audience. Where someone might think it a mistake, it is actually enriching the experience. In this case, it enhances the written word and seduces the reader into the breathing text. Being jolted from one shift in time and placed in another is a unique style quality of the writing. Those who have studied creative writing will undoubtedly enjoy this book because it is a wonderful example of the use of style and a refreshing reminder of why we write and study the classics.
It seems I'm having my own internal debate when it comes to finding flaws with the text. Certainly, there are aspects that I could mention that might make the story more entertaining, but it would come at a cost. There is repetition of both journeys and certain wordy scenes, but when viewing the text in it's entirety, it seems so connected to the flow that if cut, the story might suffer some of it's beauty and richness. So I say, give in to the journey, the repetition, and try to hang on until the end.
Will appear on my 'Best of 2010' book list. Also, reading Caraliza by Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick and highly recommend this book too. A great author everyone should discover!
(reviewed the day of purchase)