Nov 13 2017

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

I don’t think it’s weird of me to have a girl crush on Krysten Ritter after reading this book, given how phenomenally talented she is in the fields I care most about professionally: acting and writing (I would be completely unsurprised if she was also terrific at waitressing and corporate training, but then I’m just projecting a wee bit too much there, I suppose.) I still think her turn as the titular B in Don’t Trust etc has been her standout performance so far. I’m not knocking Jessica Jones, but DTTBIA23 was a terrific comedy series with a very strong main cast (James van der Beek is under-rated and oh my God, Dreama Walker! I could barely believe she was the same actress who terrorized Alan Cumming’s Eli Gold in The Good Wife!)

But to the reason for this review: Bonfire. The writing is tremendous. Ms Ritter has a way with words and her capacity for emotional honesty is astounding, traits that serve her well, I’m sure, in her day job. I will say that the pacing is off. Explanations are often rushed through or skipped over altogether, forcing the reader to make too many assumptions. Being a lifelong mystery reader, it was easy for me to make all the right guesses, but it annoyed me that narrative tension was too often cast aside for the purpose of getting to the next set piece. There is the potential for a really amazing book in this, but it needs to be written out more, which is not an accusation I often make. I do hope she keeps going with her writing, because she has a lot of talent, and I hope she’s afforded the time she needs to write truly excellent novels. I’m not sure if I’m being more kind in this review than I might be because I understand the demands on her time and attention of her other work, or because I know that acting can be so emotionally absorbing and creatively fulfilling that writing something completely unrelated requires a drastic shift in mindset and focus, but I do know that she’s as good a writer as she is an actress. And I freaking love when my entertainers are multi-talented like that.

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