Book Review: Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen

I’m really quite sad about this book. I had such high hopes for a story of discovery, adventure, and positive emotions. What I got was disappointment and sadness. I tried to keep an open mind throughout this unconventional book, and Friesen definitely should get some creativity points, but I just couldn’t really get into <i> Both of Me. </i> From the very beginning I disliked the main character, Clara; even when more of her history is revealed and the intent is for the reader to be empathetic towards her, I still just did not like her. She is not the kind of girl I want to hang out with, not even in a book. The “twist” or whatever that is supposed to drastically change how the reader sees Clara and her traveling companions did little to change my opinion. Also, there is such an overabundance of miraculous circumstances which get the characters out of just about every problem they face. As I was reading I kept thinking “there has to be something coming up that will redeem this book or change how I feel about Clara,” and I was consistently disappointed. I could not believe the ending. After all I had gone through with the characters, hoping for something that would redeem them and make their story better, it just got worse. There is no redemption. There is no hope. There is only disappointment.  I’m giving it two stars instead of one because even I have to admit that the writing was good, the story was unpredictable, and the characters were unique. This is a creative, unique, and touching story. But those things can be used in painful and distasteful ways, and that was Friesen’s mistake.


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