The Passenger, by Lisa Lutz

23 Dec
the passenger lisa lutz

FOUR of Five stars

3/4 into this book you never would have convinced me I would ever give it 4 stars, or even more than two.

I found most of it to be excruciatingly slow and repetitive (Girl takes a train/bus/car to [small town] and changes her name and hair color until the next time she takes a train/bus/car to [another small town]) with no understanding of why she’s really running for most of the book. From the very start you aren’t sure why she’s running. The intermittent email exchanges between “Jo” and “Ryan” are so confusing and random there’s no way to follow them, and you don’t even know who Jo and Ryan are for half the book. It took me FOREVER to finish this very fast read.

But I kept on, first of all because I was kindly given it to review from NetGalley, and also because several trustworthy reader friends said there were great twists at the end. I could not imagine what possible twist there could be when the entire plot is “A girl takes a train/bus/car to [small town] and changes her name and hair color until the next time she takes a train/bus/car to [another small town]) ”

But… they were right. And as soon as all the answers started pouring in, I started loving the book. Probably because there was finally a real story happening. But there were so many references from throughout the book that were now tied together in an important way, and it had taken me so long to read it that when I finished I immediately went back to the beginning to start skimming through and remembering who everyone was.

So although it took me forever to get through this, and I was firmly “MEH” for most of it, I truly believe that if I had buckled down to read it in one or two sittings then I could have gotten to the last 15% a lot quicker and enjoyed and understood things a lot faster.

I really did pretty much love the whole ending. But I did not love the entire book. I’m going to give it four stars and I’m pretty satisfied with that decision. Should you read it? I say Yes, but over a weekend when you can pay full attention until it’s over.

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