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Ex-lawyer E.L. Farris is a born-again, marathon-running married mother of three who resides in Northern Virginia.
on Sep. 06, 2013 :
“Ripple” is a gripping and suspenseful novel that is impeccably written. E.L. Farris takes the reader into the mind of a sexual predator and she graphically describes what the victims must feel and experience by the worst kind of betrayal there is. When I got to the last chapter, I felt as if I personally knew each character; they were well-rounded and came alive for me; their ordeal seemed very real. The writing style is dynamic and authentic. As a lawyer, E.L. Farris knows the law and how to write a courtroom drama that is compelling and impossible to put down.
The protagonist, Helen—is a strong personality; one that the reader will immediately feel admiration for, and connect with. She is a high powered attorney who is more used to tearing witnesses apart on the stand than showing her vulnerable side, but when she finds proof that her husband, a judge, has abused their daughter sexually for years, her world begins to unravel.
Events unfold almost faster than she can keep up with and she must depend on the help of another strong woman, Cassandra White, a criminal defense attorney. Cassandra knows what its like to be a victim. Now she too must use every ounce of skill she possesses to keep Helen and her daughter safe. The reader is taken through a suspenseful courtroom drama and police investigation, with many twists and turns along the way that make this book difficult to put down. I highly recommend this book for those who have been through similar ordeals and even for those who have not; it is an eye opener. The contents are graphic and nothing is glossed over. I found myself gasping in horror in many places but also realize this stuff happens. The predation of children is real and the author does not mince her words. A must read.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Aug. 23, 2013 :
Upon opening the pages of this book I was immediately taken to that place, that place where I felt as if I was in someone else’s home. Among their personal things. You know that feeling, right? Guilty because they could come in and find you reading their thoughts meant for them alone, but you are compelled to keep reading. You read because you’re curious, but you know you might not like what you find in those pages. You get so engrossed, you won’t be able to stop reading until you are satisfied and you know everything. That’s how I felt from beginning to end.
I love to read, but I usually steer clear of anything too, too heavy. I don’t watch the news because I find it hard not to lose sleep if I hear the sometimes gruesome details of the day’s top stories, this book still caught my eye and held onto my heart. I could not stop reading. The subject matter of sexual abuse is more than disturbing. I would love nothing more than to keep my head buried in the comfort of naiveté and ignorance, but every once in a while I have to remind myself that evil does exist. People are capable of inflicting profound harm and abuse on one another for reasons beyond my understanding, but this book is a true testament to the amazing strength and resilience that I have witnessed among many women. Women like the characters in this story that one would think could hardly go on after some of the hell that plagues their hearts and plays within their troubled minds. Women that prove that they have the capacity to learn from, lean on, and support one another through the unthinkable, and not only survive, but to thrive and help others, even when they struggle with self-doubt.
I was compelled, disgusted, engrossed, and often I found myself not only sympathetic to these courageous women, but charmed by them as well. They had me in their corner from the get go. I’m recommending this book to any one that can carve out some time to indulge in a story that captivates the heart and imagination, while at the same time providing the environment for some very real healing to begin.
I was gifted this book for an honest review and so very thankful that she did.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Aug. 21, 2013 :
Ripple: a heart-breaking and hopeful tale
I received Ripple for free in return for an honest review…and found it to be pretty incredible. Because of this, I’m going to spend a long time explaining exactly why Ripple gets four (and a half) stars instead of five.
Ripple is a multi-dimensional look at the lives of the survivors of rape: the women, their children, the husbands they later have, their work lives, all of it. The author paints a really heart-breaking picture of several lives that have been directly and indirectly affected by this, and mechanisms they use to cope. Ultimately, Ripple ends up being a tale of growth and overcoming the demons that haunt women unfortunate enough to be preyed upon by men.
I don’t generally read books like this: I’m a strict believer that tales ought to take me away from the world, and that I can orbit the planet, slip back in time, ride mythical beasts, or shoot salsa from my fingertips at will. So Ripple is a massive departure, slamming me in the emotions with plenty of reality.
Some features of the book that were really staggering in their excellence: the author does an amazing job of coming across as a legal expert, horse rider/enthusiast, long-distance runner and (definitely far from least) a survivor. It’s these details, along with her well-crafted, realistic dialogue, that kept me with the book even though it was far outside my genre preference. The author also maintains a number of strong voices (and by strong I mean consistent): the gutsy female attorney who keeps her emotions largely in check versus the emotionally ravaged teenager. Writing in consistent voice is tough, and the author pulls this off well.
Stylistically, I wasn’t put off at all by the large amount of italicized stream-of-consciousness episodes that appeared in the book. They were a great gateway into the characters’ minds. The pacing built up very well, until about sixty percent of the way through…as events began to really heat up, I was slowed down and a bit bored by very detailed explanations and analyses of cross-country running. Still the book picked back up again, and finished off with my only large gripe.
As a pure Smashwords, indie-written and produced book, I would give this seven stars out of five. However, I’ve chosen to review this book more like a piece of literature. I believe it’s that sort of quality, and deserves to be on bookshelves with ‘Bestseller!’ stickers with yellow explosions meant to draw the eye. Overall I really enjoyed being submerged in this dark other genre and coming out of it with a light heart.
So it’s with a bit of a heavy heart that I conclude with my only con about the book, which happened to be too big to ignore.
SPOILERS FROM HERE ON:
The bad guy didn’t convince me. From the first of the first-person point of view chapters, I didn’t really buy it. I guess there was a bit of guilt on my part, being a guy and reading about men who victimize women, and possibly ever being seen in this sort of light. I thought about this guy a lot, about how he’s not like any of the guys I know, but yeah, there are definitely men out there who think about nothing other than football and whose pants they can get into. Okay, that I can buy.
My problem with the bad guy was that he was too flat. First, it seemed strange that the rest of the book, pertaining to the actual survival and coping process, should be in third person, while this jerkbag should get to narrate directly to me. Second, it didn’t seem like he wanted to succeed. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not want rapists to succeed. But they do all the time in real life, and it didn’t seem to me that this guy, quoted as being ‘the best at what he does’ (paraphrased actually), should be so monumentally stupid about finding and raping the girl he’s obsessed with.
He’s painted with a brush that makes him look stupid and slovenly, yet he’s ‘the best’. We can’t really have both. If he’s smart (and we don’t get enough about how he’s smart) he would be doing more to cover his tracks, like planting kiddie porn on his neighbor’s computer and then having his neighbor steal his wi-fi connection, for instance. If he’s desperately suicidal and this is his last big fun hurrah before he offs himself, we don’t get that from the book either.
Instead we get a two-dimensional monster that’s so bent on finding and raping a little girl that he doesn’t care about committing multiple murders (or being killed himself) just to get in one girl’s pants. I suppose that, for a fictional story, this is okay. I suppose that many of the people reading this will also need solace in trying to cope with their own trauma, and this guy getting his comeuppance will make them feel better. The problem is that all the other characters (especially Gary, who ends up being in less than five pages of the whole book!) seem so real. I was sort of incredulous at the beginning of the bad guy’s parts, and kept hoping it wasn’t going to turn out like I expected…and then his subplot went the way I hoped it wouldn’t.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)