Review: Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia

17 February, 2012 Reviews 5 comments

Review: Poughkeepsie by Debra AnastasiaPoughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia
Series: Poughkeepsie #1
Published by Omnific Publishing on November 22nd 2011
Pages: 384
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him—just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.

Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls—certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.

When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she's surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.

Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?

In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.

There has been a great discussion in the comments about pulled Fanfictions and whether they are morally reprehensible for their past or should be judged based on their quality and degree of separation from their source material.

Unfortunately this book fails both tests. Yes, it is a reworked fanfiction. I was willing to maybe put that aside if it was good because I remember the relationship dynamic and characters being very different from the source material and, indeed, being very different from any book I’d ever read.

That part is still true – but I’m saved from having a moral dilemma over whether to give this book a high rating or not – because this is not a good book.

I could rattle off the usual.  The characters are two-dimensional and unconvincing, the plot is a haphazard hodgepodge of nonsense and the writing is mediocre.  The exboyfriend was mustache-twirling ridiculous, the three brothers lacked a realistic bond or even respectable backstory.  The main female protagonist was laughably incomplete as a character and still managed to be scarily dependent on her boyfriend despite the fact that he was both homeless and mentally-ill.

All of this would usually still leave you with somewhat of an okay story.  Readable but nothing spectacular.  Unfortunately, the novel’s history caught up with it in the least expected the way.

You see, Fanfiction and novels appear on the outside to be similar mediums.  Both narratives that span similar lengths from novellas to sprawling epics.  Yet, it’s in their conception and delivery that makes them markedly different.

A novel is written, edited and then published for public consumption.  This hopefully means that the story has been smoothed out and any plotting problems sorted.  The consumers receive the book whole and can read it in one sitting.  The author then has the luxury of evenly spacing the story arc and gives the book balance.

Fanfictions, are written and published (or updated in the fanfiction world) chapter by chapter.  Sometimes the author has a plot worked out but often not.  Updating sometimes happens as often as weekly or can stretch out to be several months between updates.  As such, readers follow many stories at once and thus the skills of a successful fanfic deviate heavily from a successful novel.

For starters – relationships can not take an entire book to develop.  After some general polling a couple of years ago, fanficers reported that they would abandon a story should the main characters not “unite” within 9-11 chapters (considering many fanfics have 30+ chapters, this is a rather short amount of time).  Then it’s a matter of dragging the story along for a while until people start to get bored.  In the last five chapters or so, fanfiction authors tend to shit out a resolution, wash their hands of it and move on.

This is exactly what happens in Poughkeepsie.  The couples mostly resolve their issues and are happily together.  There is a visible moment in the story when the author shits herself, realizes she needs a tidy way to resolve the plot and then sets about creating a ridiculous ending.

What I had hoped was that this novel, when pulled, would be seriously – and with great consideration – edited into a respectable piece.  In this I was disappointed.  I can’t see anything new or different from the Fanfic.  I would go through my version to see if the author has done anything more than find and replace the names, but I can’t be bothered.

The chance I had been willing to give this novel is now squandered.  I guess now we’ll never be able to know what brilliant argument I would have come up with to justify the morality in its publishing.  Which is a shame.  I love arguing.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

5 Responses to “Review: Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia”

  1. Hazeldene

    Try actually reading it. It’s a lovely story that will stay with you long after you finish the last page.

  2. Francesca

    Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me what this book was original a fanfic of? I’m in the midst of making a podcast on fanfiction to published books and knowing the original ‘fandom’ this was related to would be helpful

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