Review: Alice Murphy’s Preservation by Maria Kennedy

 Book review | Alice Murphy's Preservation by Maria Kennedy | 1 stars

Alice Murphy’s Preservation by Maria Kennedy

Independently published 2015
ISBN: 978 1 478322979



Fifteen-year-old Alice Murphy is an independent-minded, offbeat young lady. Blunt, goofy and somewhat naïve, Alice longs to connect to the world around her. She has trouble fitting in at school and frequently says the wrong thing at the wrong time. Her English teacher, Mrs. Sinclair, labelled her as a B student on the first day of class and can’t see her any other way. She has a crush on lacrosse team star, Jim Flaherty, a boy who approaches life with a type of confidence and certainty that Alice has never known.

While writing an article for the Glenwood High School News on the lacrosse team, Alice unwittingly stumbles upon a school scandal. Jim and several of his teammates arrive at one of their games drunk and now face disciplinary measures. Alice goes to Deal Rothschild’s office to schedule an appointment to interview him about the incident. While there, Alice and several members of the lacrosse team witness a confrontation between Dean Rothschild and his alcoholic wife.

As an act of revenge, Jim organizes a production of Edward Albee’s “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, a play about belligerent alcoholics. Jim plans to humiliate the dean by stylizing two of the main characters in the play to represent Dean Rothschild and his wife. Jim asks Alice and her best friend Craig, a theater aficionado, to become involved with the production.

Guided by her sardonic wit and compassion, the bumbling Alice navigates her way through high school. Through the play, she comes to terms with her identity and learns to stand up for what she believes in.


Bullet-point review


+ story line
+ quirky main character

 – inconsistency of spelling choices
– double/missing words/letters/punctuation
– one-sentence paragraphs (too many)
– chapter titles and page numbers in different font from main text
– trains of thought uselessly interrupted
– “real-life” conversations
– main character is all over the place
– terrible cover

Full Review

Firstly, I’d like to point out that I did enjoy the story line. That’s the only reason I finished the book. The main character is quirky and feels awkward, while trying really hard (and sometimes less hard) to be less awkward.

However, there are so many things about this book that are just not good. Words are not always written the same. At least, I noticed it once and something like that bothers me. If spelling of something can be done in several ways, then pick ONE and stick with it, don’t change it on the next page. I’ll notice and it’s annoying.

There is a lot of editing to be done besides that: missing or double words/letters/punctuation. It’s not great to have to read over that, and there’s quite a lot of it. Plus a “were”, where there should’ve been “where”. There are also a LOT of one-sentence paragraphs. Stylistically bad, though not a problem when used sparingly. They become a problem when you use four of them in a row.

The characters conversations are written down as if they were real-life conversations. Great, you’d think, but you’d be wrong. Real-life conversations are usually fairly boring and uninteresting. A lot of “How are you”s and “fine”s. There is no reason to write it like this.

Another point that bothered me were the interrupted trains of thought; uselessly interrupted trains of thought. The interruption didn’t add anything to the story, didn’t make the train of thought go in another direction, it just added more words on the page.

Lastly, the main character is quirky, very quirky. So quirky in fact, that I’d say she’s all over the place. At a certain point in time, this made it hard to relate to the character.

Don’t recommend until some serious editing has been done.


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