Save Yourself

Save Yourself

A Novel

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
7
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While a convenience-store clerk navigates the pitfalls of his father's imprisonment and the baffling attentions of two young women, a high school freshman endures her parents' fundamentalism and cruel classmates by joining a circle of dark misfits.
Publisher: New York, New York : Crown Publishers, [2013]
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9780385347341
0385347340
Characteristics: 310 pages ; 25 cm

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TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 04, 2016

Braffet does a wonderful job creating characters whose lives are interesting. The ways in which they’re put on display, and the ways these characters interact with one another, gave me a deep empathy for several characters; I truly wanted the best for them. It was all very harsh and believable, which made the less-believable conclusion tolerable.

p
Persnickety77
Nov 20, 2014

This was a well written book, for the most part. Some of the characters were very well developed and I empathized with them.

I wish we'd gotten more into what Justinian's motives were.

The climactic scene struck me as unrealistic, and she didn't wrap up things in a very satisfactory way. But otherwise, it was entertaining, with some surprising depth.

a
arrina
Oct 07, 2014

Such a haunting tale, like watching a train wreck unfold and not being able to take your eyes away from the destruction. This is the first time for me reading anything from this author, and I'll be sure to check out her other books. She knows how to make the reader feel and empathize with each character.

kellnerm Jan 22, 2014

Steven King daughter-in-law

JCLGreggW Oct 08, 2013

We're used to novels that lean on the big moments and shocking reveals, but sometimes the ones that really get in your head rely on the small moments with regular characters, the kind of people who are in the corners of other novels, living quiet lives of desperation and hopelessness. This novel by Kelly Braffett focuses of a group of teenagers and adults living in the grimy, anonymous suburbs of Pittsburgh, all of them haunted by the past. The lives of the men of the Cusimano family try to piece together their shattered lives when their father kills a neighborhood child while drunk driving. The older brother drinks beers and tries to ignore the world around him while the yonger brother, a smart kid in a world where smartness is looked down upon, works the night shift at a grungy convienence store and wrestles with his lust for his brother's girlfriend who has her own doubts that she picked the right brother. Meanwhile, the girls of the Elshere family try to survive high school. Their father, a basement pastor with a keep-your-virginity ministry, makes headlines when he gets a popular teacher fired for teaching sex ed. The controlling father clashes with a domineering teen boy who exerts his own dark cultish control over the girls. The path of this novel is dark, twisty, and intense, and even though this isn't going to be this year's GONE GIRL, the characters and their search for something better will stick with you.

j
JCLRachelSH
Aug 30, 2013

Once upon a time in a faraway land I denied being the “thriller-reading type” — but then I started reading the really dark and twisty stuff; the kind where everyone wriggles and squirms and NO ONE gets to be the good guy. I’m in. Kelly Braffet’s wonderful new book is about as dark and twisty as it gets. Eight attractive teenagers with rotten lives scramble to fend for themselves in a miserable world where grownups turn their backs just when their protection is needed most. At the story’s core are two very different, very damaged families whose kids are left to atone for their parents’ sins, with new sins of their own piling on at top speed. Braffet gives us a beautifully realized cast of the downtrodden and exiled in suburban Pittsburgh: exhausted waitresses, metalhead gas station attendants, blithe drunks, bullied goths, churchy fathers, schizophrenic mothers, all in a creepy, squirmy, steamy, scary stew that simmers to its punishing but perfect conclusion.

l
LouWSytsma
Aug 18, 2013

One feels guilty when you read in a day, a story a writer put a lot of work into. But it is also sign of a great book and Kelly Braffet has pulled off a particularly difficult feat. She created a very sad world with characters beaten down by events out of their control. Yet Braffert writes the characters in a way that makes you empathize with them. You may empathize with certain characters over others and that's perfectly fine. There are enough characters in the story that more than a couple of them will probably get their hooks into you.

The subtext of the unquenchable human thirst for the hope of being a better person flitters on the edges of every page. The only caveat is the characters end up where you think they will. The surprise is the price they have pay to get there.

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