Book Review: Starting Over by J.J. Fleetwood
A man's life is turned upside down when his long-term girlfriend breaks up with him on a flight to their home in Dubai. Devastated, the man does the only thing he can do to move on: let go.
The beginning of this story was difficult to get into. Its poor formatting and lack of editing was frustrating. Everything is dialogue until page 3, when the author finally bothers to tell us they're on an airplane.
But the story gradually gets better. Flashbacks show the characters during happier times and the author writes beautiful descriptions, even though there's not enough of them to immerse the reader fully into the story.
Then, with a sudden movement, he pulled off the lid of the tin and tossed the torn pieces high into the air. They formed a swirling, spinning confetti cloud that drifted out across the water. Somehow it was beautiful, with the moonlight reflecting from the spinning scraps of paper. The pieces slowly settled, one by one, into the inky blackness of the water. He waited until the last piece had disappeared from view and then began the long walk back to his car.
The story shifts from flashback to present, from inner dialogue to action very well. I never felt bogged down in description, nor did I get impatient for a flashback to end, which I do with a lot of stories.
But Fleetwood falls to the temptation to make pompous generalizations about love.
Love is a disease, a kind of madness, he thought, that ties us to another person and makes us see them as no one else does.
Not only is the above quote poorly blended into the scene, but it also shows the author's lack of ability to show this idea in a subtle or entertaining way.
The story ends abruptly, too, and while the main character gets closure, the reader certainly doesn't. So while this story has a few redeeming qualities, overall it is a very amateurish work from someone who could be a great writer with a lot more time and practice.
You can read Starting Over for free on Smashwords.