Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I purposely picked up this book for two reasons. First of all, it was written by a Canadian author and I seem to be seriously lacking when it comes to my "Canadian" bookshelf. And second, I have purposely avoided any kind of religious based fiction for years, and I wanted to venture outside of my comfort zone. So am I ultimately glad I picked this particular book? I'm honestly not sure.
The premise: a brutal school shooting occurs in 1988, and the story continues on in a unique format. In four separate parts we move from the years 1988 to 1999 to 2002, and concluding in 2003. Each part is told by a different narrator, all of whom are connected to the shooting or someone involved in the shooting in some way.
Part one is from the point of view of one of the shooting victims, named Cheryl. Cheryl is telling us her story from beyond the grave, and is 100% aware of the fact that she is dead. However, thankfully, she is not all-knowing which leaves us without the entire story. Part two is from the point of view of Cheryl's high school sweetheart, Jason, in 1999, years after the shooting. We see Jason struggling with the lasting effects of the tragedy and how he has coped with the events that have occurred since the shooting. Part three is in 2002, and it follows Jason's girlfriend, Heather, a couple of months after Jason suddenly disappears. Part four is extremely short, serving as an epilogue of sorts for the novel in 2003, narrated by Jason's father. And I have to say, the ending is one of the most unfair endings I have ever had the pleasure(?) of reading.
The one thing that disappointed me about this book is that (as horrible as it is) I wanted to know more about the shooting. Yeah, yeah, I can kind of see how the whole "a butterfly flaps it wings" affect is incorporated into the story, but at the same time the majority of the things that play out aren't necessarily directly related to the fact that the shooting happened. While there was nothing necessarily wrong with this story, it was just kind of a documentation of things that happen years later to some people that happen to know someone who was killed. It kind of felt a bit disjointed.
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