Not Lost For Lookin’s brilliance almost lost to poor presentation
“Thank you for writing this book, Lexi Boeger. I appreciate your commitment and the time you put into this worthy endeavor.
The first thing I noticed about Lexi Boeger’s e-book, Not Lost For Lookin’ was it was poorly formatted. This despite the fact that amongst the front matter of the book she credits a website for formatting it for her as well as someone who served as an editor for the manuscript.
Boeger doesn’t use quotation marks to indicate dialogue. Her dialogue is not connected to speaker attributions – there’s dialogue and then full stop; then the next sentence might begin with “Says”.
The more characters that are introduce as the story unfolds the more difficult it is to understand whose saying what. It takes the reader out of the reading experience and that’s a bad thing.
I was further confused by Boeger’s style of not indenting at the beginning of a paragraph but then indenting for dialogue.
Boeger is also fond of long paragraphs when now days most authors adhere to the unwritten rule to paragraph every three sentences. With today’s reader being use to abbreviations and sentence fragments in emails and on social media most authors avoid presenting the reader with blocks of solid type that can be intimidating.
Quotation marks, other punctuation and indentation are used to help the reader understand the text. It’s not something invented to frustrate the author, inhibit their creativity, or stifle their voice.
When these conventions are abandoned it becomes difficult, at least for this reader, to understand and enjoy their story.
Sometimes formatting can be skewed by the publisher. Sites like Smashwords and Amazon give specific instructions on how to format your manuscript before uploading. I know this can be challenging, but authors owe it to themselves, their work and their readers to take the time and patience to get it right.
Despite these annoying distractions I persevered and was glad of it. Not Lost for Lookin’ is an astounding novel.
It’s a story is about a woman, Rose, who’s marriage and life are “breaking down and unraveling and upturning”. Fly fishing for her and her family is about traditions, about “routines, habits,” it’s their “Modus Operandi. Unchanging and unfailing. Predictable.” Rose goes fly fishing to escape the turmoil in her life.
One day she is driving to a remote fishing spot and comes upon Glory, an enigmatic young woman in the middle of nowhere. We soon discover that Glory’s situation is similar to Rose’s.
The two of them become friends and eventually hook up with two disreputable but likeable fellows for hard drinking and reflective fly-fishing. As Rose’s marriage implodes she draws closer to Glory and their new male cohorts. When Glory’s mysterious past is revealed it defies love and logic.
Boeger writes about magic and her writing in some places is magical. Her imagery of the creeks and canyons she’s fished is like an impressionistic painting, vivid yet indistinct, coalescing in your imagination. Her descriptive passages go beyond what can be seen and include the mood of a place, it’s personality, it’s desires, it’s demons. To her landscape is a character, an important one that you get to know intimately.
Some of the fly fishing narrative morphs into kind of a flow of consciousness. There’s a fine line between a meaningful creative flow and a rambling bunch of nonsense. Occasionally, Boeger crosses the line, but most often I was swept away.
Boeger’s characterization is through action which is good since at the same time the plot is advancing. There’s a lot of tough talk and a great deal of profanity. Most times Boeger’s diction is astoundingly perfect, but there were instances I thought she used the f-word because she was too lazy to think of more appropriate adjective. Believe me, it’s not that she can’t.
Endings to literary novels don’t have to bring resolution, but with so many options open to the author I was disappointed and unsatisfied with the bizarre ending she chose.
I downloaded this book free from Smashwords as part of an ongoing commitment to review new, self-published authors.
(reviewed 13 days after purchase)