Friday, June 8, 2012

Book Review: The Secret Life of Copernicus H. Stringfellow by Lorin Barber

Title: The Secret Life of Copernicus H. Stringfellow
Author: Lorin Barber
Publisher: Sweetwater Books
Paperback: 293 pages
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
Copernicus H. Stringfellow, a.k.a. Nick, is not your run-of-the-mill genius. His mind is so powerful it can stop a speeding automobile or stem internal bleeding. As Nick goes about quietly doing good, he discovers that his powers are greatly enhanced by the nutrients present in Twinkies. Follow Nick on his amazing adventures in this humorous and exciting action-packed book for all ages.

Overall Rating: 2/5

This reminded me of a Matilda story for grown-ups. Nick is a super-genius who has such a great intellectual ability that he is able to perform telekinesis. I thought this was an interesting premise and was interested to see what challenges this kind of guy faces. I'm a huge fan of super-intelligent characters, so I thought this book would be my kind of thing.

It's great that Nick is such a nice guy. Throughout the entire book, he is constantly doing good deeds for people, such as giving them jobs, helping them heal, and saving them from danger. It did bother me that when explaining his good deeds and his outlook on life, Nick tends to get incredibly preachy. I prefer it when actions speak for themselves.

Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the book as much as I'd thought I would. The main problem was the lack of overall conflict. There was nothing to really tie all the events in the book together except for Nick's magical abilities to solve all problems life throws at him. What I love about having super smart main characters is that they usually have to overcome something extraordinary. I was looking for a challenge that would take Nick an entire novel to overcome. As it was, all the conflicts presented  were too easy. For him, there was no real challenge. There were a very few instances when Nick's abilities weren't enough to solve the conflict right away, but these things were still relatively quick to be resolved, usually lasting no more than a couple of chapters.

I also thought the writing was a bit awkward. There is a lack of integration of dialogue and narrative. Either conversations go on for pages, or there are pages of narratives. No in-betweens. I also thought it strange that each character gets a full stats run-down upon introduction: exact height, color of eyes, color of hair, physical figure, etc. I wanted to attribute it to Nick's analytical mind, but even that didn't fully work, as the story isn't entirely from his perspective.

Overall, this was disappointing for me. I thought it was a great idea and the novel did have some enjoyable moments, but not enough.

*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.*

Other Reviews:
A Casual Reader's Blog
Krazy Book Lady
Fire and Ice