Book Review: Don't You Forget About Me
Erin McCole Cupp blessed me by giving me a copy of her new book, Don't You Forget About Me, from Full Quiver. I love the power of the written word, and it's a joy to find a new gem of literary quality. I have to admit, I approach modern (post-Inkling) novels with trepidation. I've been burned too many times. Erin's book, however, did more than provide a pleasant antidote to the crap on my local public library's shelves. It riveted me, forced me to stay up into the wee hours and wake up earlier than normal to finish it. Trust me, I am a college student and do not take the importance of sleep lightly!
As a brief synopsis, Don't You Forget About Me is a mystery centered around a Catholic grade school and the class of 87's strange "curse". Mary Catherine Whelihan, a children's writer with endometriosis, must return to her hometown and face the present conflict, and her past sufferings. DYFAM includes murder and martyrdom, birth and death, friendships, bullies, and relationships, with a little bit of Mafia drama thrown in!
Great storytelling style and more, DYFAM was a thoroughly good read. Being somewhat addicted to the mystery genre, I can’t help but revere authors like Erin, who can create a puzzle, present enough clues to make the revelation totally believable, keep me hooked on a plot-powered joyride, and give me genuine, 4D characters. Balancing characters, plot, and audience is a challenge, especially in a mystery, and many fall short. Erin excels! She does a great job of dropping clues without using fluorescent neon highlighter - in fact, it’s been an awesome scavenger hunt as I read through the book a second time, congratulating myself as I pick up on Easter eggs that I completely missed the first time through.
DYFAM impressed me also by taking an issue (no spoilers) that’s full of medical and scientific information, and presenting it in a way that was neither overwhelming nor dumbing-down. I felt like I understood the topic thoroughly, but wasn’t hammered with details.
I loved the fact that the point of view was centered squarely with the “broken” character. I have a feeling that at least some of us reading the book may be in the pro-life, anti-contraception crowd. With DYFAM, our positions are reversed. We’re allowed to see through the eyes of Cate, the fallen-away Catholic, the person in all of our lives who says “oh yes, I was raised Catholic…I went to a Catholic school…” At least for me, it was a personal challenge, one which I found compelling and worthy of meditation. Do I express my love of faith and the value of life through action and example, like Gene did so clearly? Gene was a genuinely good man without being preachy (I'd have a crush on him if Cate didn't have dibs), and supporting characters were very well-developed (Staz, I'm looking at you!) I became very attached to Cate, and I really, really want to see how she continues to grow and heal.
Overall? I'm not going to forget about this book any time soon! Read the book, capiche? Y'all can look forward to a blog interview with Erin in the near future. One of the benefits of being a CWG Minion. :D