Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island

I finally finished reading Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island this week. Phew! I feel like it took me years to read it. I hate when I don't have as much time to devote to reading as I would like, but hey, I have to set priorities and lesson plans and schoolwork must come first. Nonetheless, I finally did it!

I must start with a bit of a spoiler: this novels has an open ending! So, if you're one of those people who can't stand when there isn't a "real" resolution at the end of the story (be it a novel or movie), then don't even bother reading this book. It is somewhat thick and you will be disappointed. With that being said, let's start talking about the good things about it.

I picked it up while stuck in the JFK airport in NYC for 4 hours, having slept for only 6 hours in 2 days and needing to stay up so I wouldn't miss the plane. I needed to find something that would keep my interest up (I'm one of those people who won't fall asleep if I have a good book in hand). My options were tons of Nicholas Sparks' books, some other sappy stories, and this. I didn't even know that the movie that just came out with Leonardo DiCaprio was based on a book, and was pleasantly surprised.

The novels starts out a little confusing, the time and setting jump around a little and it's difficult to follow, but once you get past the first couple of pages, the story is a delight. It tells the story of 2 US Marshalls, Teddy and Chuck, who must go to an island off of the coast of Boston or somewhere in Rhode Island (I'm not sure where, it never really tells in the book, but it's around there). On this island operates a mental hospital, which houses only the most dangerous mental patients in the country. The reason why they were sent to such place is because a patient has apparently ran away and it is up to them to find her. All in all, no one can understand how someone ran away from that place, and Teddy starts to think this is a cover up. On top of everything, a hurricane is upon them. I can't say much more otherwise I'll reveal too much of the plot and totally ruin the book (or possibly the movie. I haven't seen it).

Lehane has some amazing metaphors and imagery. I was pleasantly surprised by them as I didn't think that this book was the kind of have language like that. It seemed as thought it would be more straight forward. His characters are also very round and believable. I hated the antagonist and cheered for Teddy every time he had a breakthrough on the investigation.

The only problem I had with it is that I wished he had more descriptions. Since everything happened in a mental hospital, visuals were important and I don't think that there was enough of those. Maybe the movie version will be easier to understand because of the visual ability.

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