The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This is another book that the premise sounds RIGHT up my alley - foster care, social work, coming of age, etc. All of those are things that I tend to gravitate to for so many reasons.
Although I was never bored while reading this one, I also never really found myself to be truly engaged in the novel. I was certainly disturbed by the content (it's definitely dark) and felt an overwhelming sense of sadness at the injustice so prevalent in this novel. But, I didn't find myself compelled by it. I just never connected with it for some reason.
The characters were definitely well written and striking. I found the characterization to be the most outstanding aspect of the novel and that is likely what kept me reading. I didn't love the plot - and found a number of holes in it that I had a hard time overlooking. There were aspects of the plot that were alluded to but never really given any substance which I think was a bit of a letdown.
Jenni Fagan is obviously a good writer. There were several scenes that came so alive to me that they made me a bit sick to my stomach due to the intensity of the events being described. She certainly has a way with language and in describing events. Although I was initially taken aback by the dialect of the novel, I got used to that over time.
All in all, this novel didn't wow me as I'd hoped but it has outstanding characterization and says something pretty important about social injustice and child welfare. But, be warned ... this is a very dark novel. One that has quite a bit of dark and twisty content which might not work if you're weary of such things.
** NOTE: This book was provided to me by the publisher for review.
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