Review: Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon

29 May

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Immediately after reading Dismantled, I rated it 5 stars. I really liked it, and I came out of my reading with a case the creeps.  You know, the good kind, the reason why you read spooky books…

After thinking about it afterward, I lowered the rating to 4.5 stars.  There were some details that didn’t quite hold together for me when I thought back on the book.  Still, my recollections were primarily positive, the book is beautifully written, and the roller coaster ride while reading it was fantastic.

I liked and disliked the characters.  I thought they were well executed, but not always people I’d want to hangout with.

I liked 9 year old Emma, even while feeling sorry for her– her parents are less than ideal.  And of course there’s the imaginary friend.  Is Emma hallucinating?  Is she being haunted?  Is she just really creative?

Tess and Henry were more complex.  I really liked them as characters, even if I didn’t always care for them as people.  In college, these two had been artists and part of a disruptive group, the Creative Dismantlers (“To understand the nature of a thing, it must be taken apart”).  Now they’ve had a child, settled down, and are much more mainstream in their artistic endeavors.  They’ve drifted apart, and neither is handling life well.

Their past is haunting them.  The question is how literal that statement is.

The story jumps between the historical hi-jinks of the Creative Dismantlers, Tess’s current story, Henry’s current story and Emma’s current story. The tale of what happened in the past and that of what is happening now unroll in parallel, each having twist and turns (some unexpected, others less so).

Dismantled is beautifully written, but not enough to get in the way of the story.  The reflection on the nature of art and the relationship between art and the artist; the descriptions of the setting; the depth of the characters:  All of these contribute to this book being more than just a thriller.  I think it works on that level.

And after all that, I think what will stick with me is the ghost story.

I read Dismantled as part of a TLC Book Tour. Thank you to Trish for the book and the opportunity participate.

For more information on the book, go to Jennifer McMahon’s website.

For other perspectives on the book, check out the other tour stops:TLC Book Tours


Posted by on May 29, 2010 in books, reviews, tour


Tags: , , ,

8 responses to “Review: Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon

  1. Pam

    May 30, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    I still need to finish reading it!!!

  2. Lisa

    May 31, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I’ve recently discovered that I really need to read books further ahead of my review dates so that I have time to digest the books. I’ve had a couple recently that, the more I thought about them, the more my opinion changed. Were you at all disappointed by the ending of this one, the explanation of what had been happening?

  3. Marce

    June 2, 2010 at 7:07 am

    I have this one on my Wishlist and own Promise to Tell by Jennifer McMahon.

    Great review

  4. trish

    June 2, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I like that you talked about rating it a 5 as soon as you closed the book, but dropping it down half a star after thinking about it. 4.5 stars is still a great rating, and for the minor flaws you mention, it really sounds fantastic. So glad you were on this tour!

  5. bermudaonion

    June 6, 2010 at 5:19 am

    I love the cover of this book and stood and looked at it a while at Costco yesterday but decided I didn’t need another book. It sounds like I was wrong – I think I need this one!


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