Irreplaceable - Stephen Lovely My actual rating is a 3.5

The character discussions in this review contain strong opinions that may be interpreted as spoilers. Read with care.


I am only 25 or so pages into the book, but I wondered what you thought of the author's writing style. I am finding it "off" somehow, like he is talking about people, but they aren't really people to me. I don't know quite how to explain it, but just wondered what you thought. I think it is the tense he is using. I am used to third person books being written in the past tense, and first person books being written in the present tense, but this is a third person narrative, and he is switching tenses back and forth.


I just started Part II of the book, and I am enjoying it more now. I think I have gotten used to the author's cadence. Some of my thoughts on Part I:

- I don't know what to think of Alex. I can't imagine what I would feel like in his situation. He is obviously angry, and still dealing (or not dealing) with what happened, but I don't know if I could do any better if I were in his shoes.
- I feel obvious sympathy for Janet, and can definitely understand why she wants to know more about Isabella. I think she feels that Isabella is part of her now.
- Jantet's husband David, though, seems to be somewhat of an egocentric jerk. I'm sure it is hard living with a wife who almost died, but his method of dealing with it seems to be to try to pretend nothing is changed. I just think that he could be a little more sympathetic to Janet's euphoria, after all, it has only been a year.
-Jasper. Now there is a piece of work. He is the obvious villain in the piece, and I wanted to feel sorry for him, but he seems so oblivious to what he has done, and is still lying about it. It really makes me angry that he got out of any legal complications since I don't think he was really as sober,etc. as he wants people to think he was. And even though he tells Alex that he is sorry, the only thing that he seems sorry about is that his 15 minutes of fame are up.

Whew! Some strong opinions, huh? Well, now on to Part II to see if those feelings change at all.


I finished the book this morning, and actually, I kind of got used to the author's style, so I ended up liking it. I would give it a 3 or a 3.5, as it was good, not great, not excellent. The story in general was interesting to me, but not page turning, although in the end, I thought that the author highlighted some interesting insights of what people may feel when they are going through something like this. I was disappointed, though, that the story seemed to lack the emotional impact that should have been easy to convey with this type of a story line. He seemed to be "describing" the book instead of making the characters and situations come alive. As for the characters:

Alex - talk about wishy washy. The man just couldn't decide whether he wanted to move on or not, though, after only a year, I might be the same. I think the fact that he was feeling that he was abandoning Isabel if he moved on with his life is a very real struggle for many people who lose someone while they are still young. It's interesting that you saw him as a failure even before Isabel died, since I didn't really pick up on that. But-- he certainly wasn't getting off of his duff to get a new job.

Janet - Interestingly, I tended to agree with Alex about Janet. In the beginning I felt sorry for her, and felt that her need to be connected to Alex and his mother was born out of guilt for being alive when Isabel wasn't. There were times, though, that I thought it was all a ploy to get back the type of attention that she had gotten used to and was missing. I ended up ambivalent about her.

Jasper - I can safely say that my original estimation of his character was spot on. He was a crybaby and a loser looking for any type of attention. I thought his stalking of Alex, Bernice, and Janet was great in that it made him easy to hate and see as the creepy villain. I would imagine hitting someone and killing them would ruin your life, but the only remorse he seemed to feel was that nobody was giving him any sympathy. He was the epitome of the "professional victim". Nothing was ever his fault.

Bernice - I actually felt sorriest for her. She had lost her husband, son, and now her daughter. While she knew intellectually that she should move on and let Alex move on, she just couldn't quite get there emotionally. I thought it really insightful when they went to visit Janet in the hospital and she commented that she had half expected to see Isabel lying there.

David - I actually felt that David's character, as flawed as he was, was the most honest. At least in the end he was able to admit that he had expected it all to just go away, and when it didn't, he was able to admit that it wasn't what he signed up for. Don't get me wrong, I still thought he was a shallow jerk, worrying only about himself and walking out on his family, but at least he admitted how it affected him. I also think that his behavior, unfortunately, is not uncommon in his situation.

So - my synopsis--I agree with you that the story creates a connection because of the issues it highlights about people who are in this situation, but I also agree with you that it was weak, especially, as you said, when compared to other books of this type. As I mentioned above, I thought it lacked emotional intensity. It's weird what the author said about not trying to make fiction interesting. Why else would you pick up a book to read?? It's a good thing that he put his acknowledgements with that statement in the back of the book. If I had read that first, I may not have read the book at all.

All in all, it was an interesting read, but kind of a "meh" read as a friend of mine says. Not a waste of time, but not a "I'm glad I read that" either.