Publication Date: December 3, 2012
You’d think that reading a novel with five first-person points-of-views would really get confusing. You’d have to backtrack and keep a chart of who does what. Not so in this novel. Dennis gives us five main characters, each with a unique writing voice and style. Monica, Betsy, Ellen, Aunt Lucille and Carl all shine with personality and varied life experience. Despite the fact that a majority of the storyline is re-telling, this reader never got bored thinking “been there, done that” because their outlook was so unique that they almost seemed to be separate events.
The first diary entry is written a year after the events and we find Monica in some sort of mental institution. The implication is that she is criminally insane. She tells us that she was once someone happy, someone who was so much in love and that everyone thought she would do well in life. From that moment the reader is drawn in. The feeling of the stream of consciousness narrative gives realness to the characters.
It can be said that a male writer would have a challenge writing the inner subtext of not only a woman, but also a young girl, and Dennis has that down. Not only is he able to write convincing young adults, but he also writes his male character with a voice that while introspective and philosophical, like a woman, but seems a complete departure from the way of thinking of the other characters he wrote. Carl is a destroyed man who lives in fear. Dennis shifts from the entry of a suicidal young girl to Carl who tells us:
I’m scared. I’m scared of him; I’m scared of tomorrow and I’m scared of just plain living. (Kindle location 572)
The impact of the writing style, depth of emotions and the complexity of the storyline bring together a tale of love, murder and betrayal that resonates on the page. Love, love, love this novel. Well written, well plotted, engrossing. If you like philosophical and human stories, Why She Left Us is the story for you.
Read an excerpt and buy Why She Left Us by David Dennis on