Monday, January 12, 2009

Upbound by Peter Hassebroek


Title: Upbound
Author: Peter Hassebroek
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
Publication Date: March 6, 2008
Format: Paperback, 219 pages
Age Group: Adult

Upbound is the story of Karl Stevenson and family secrets. Karl is seven when his Uncle Douglas dies suddenly and Karl refuses to believe that he is really gone. When his babysitter makes a passing remark about reincarnation, Karl finds hope in the idea that his new baby brother may actually be the reincarnation of his uncle. Upbound follows Karl through his teen years as he tries to find out more about his uncle and his family.

Based on the description of Upbound on the author's website, I thought the book would really focus on the idea that Karl's little brother is really the reincarnation of Uncle Douglas. However, I found the book much more about Karl's relationship to his family and the secrets they kept from each other. The family is disjointed, with the father obviously favoring his younger son. The mother is almost a shadow of a character as she is mainly described by other characters. Rarely do we see her in action. Karl is intrigued by his younger brother, Samuel, in the beginning but they grow increasingly competitive over the years.

I struggled in the beginning with the author's writing. Sentences seemed to be too long and were often held together by multiple commas. These lengthy sentences were sometimes convoluted and difficult to follow. However, once I made it past the first section of the book either the writing smoothed out or I became accustomed to reading it. While the middle section of the story was engaging, I found the ending ultimately disappointing as I still had unanswered questions.

Overall, this novel was a good first effort although I believe that it would have benefited from some additional editing.

Thank you to the author, Peter Hassebroek, for sending me an autographed copy of Upbound. An excerpt from the novel can be found at www.peterhassebroek.com