31 Hours by Masha Hamilton explores the far reaching effects of one young man’s choice to blow himself up in a NY subway. The book explores the interconnectedness of folks before this young man, Jonas, follows through with his decision.
31 Hours was chosen for my book club, and most everyone enjoyed this book more than me. I felt like the book took folks who were connected in some way to Jonas, but never connected them to each other. Because 31 Hours was trying to explore so many relationships, it failed to fully explore Jonas, his childhood, his family, etc. Sure, it touched on those things.
He’d been such an empathetic child, feeling everything from Carol’s pain at the breakup to the loss of a belly-up goldfish that had to be flushed.
So of course, with all this sensitivity, when he reached adolescence, he began questioning. He went through periods of doubting the values of everyone around him, from the principal of his school to the director of this theater group to the artists Jake [Jonas’ dad] represented, and finally to her, his mom. And she was fine with that. She could stand up to a bit of close examination, she told herself; she wasn’t that bad. Besides, how much worse if she’d raised a little Republican who bought into it all without any reservations?
Okay, yes, the author has TOLD me that Jonas was sensitive and questioning, but she never SHOWS me. The author is so busy TELLING me how the story plays out, that she forgets to show me how the story plays out.
I am ALL ABOUT random connections. But I really feel like at least two connections could have been left out of the story and nothing would have been lost. 31 Hours was short, and I would have loved to have had the story more fleshed out in order to really delve into WHY this happened.
Rating: 60 out of 100
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She Is Too Fond of Books (loved it)
S. Krishna’s Books (loved it)
Linus’s Blanket (loved it)
Bermudaonion’s Weblog (loved it)
Care’s Online Book Club (loved it)
Beth Fish Reads (liked it more than me, less than others)