Eleven Hours by Paullina Simons was my second pull from the book drop at the office. There was no non-fiction interlude between this and City of Beasts as I wasn’t organised enough. The book drop doesn’t contain vast amounts of books that I would jump at reading, so I just went for something lightweight and entertaining to tide me over until I got home to the collection of books that I desperately want to read. On the surface, Eleven Hours appeared to be a pretty standard thriller, heavy on plot, fast-paced, simple writing.
What a delightful surprise this book was. It is a fast paced, plot-heavy thriller and it is so much more. The characterisation was extremely skillfully done. The main character, Didi, endures an eleven hour abduction. I didn’t like her much, but she was very real to me and behaved in exactly the way I thought such a woman would. Even down to the extent that when she was being taken from the car park with threats of violence she never actually said no. Because many women can’t and don’t say no.
Another main character was presented to us with a single mention of his race. I mention this because often it seems that the defining characteristic of black characters in books written by white authors is that they are black and the adjective is used constantly. It is a measure of how impressed I was by the writing in this book that I was disappointed when this character was introduced as ‘a black man’ and so I subsequently was alert for how many times that was used as an adjective. I was pleased to note that it wasn’t.
I was also pleased with the ending. Although Didi’s husband and an FBI agent are chasing after her to rescue her, ultimately Didi rescues herself and then gives birth unaided. Her efforts are nothing short of heroic and even though she is so passive in nature, Simons’ writing is utterly convincing. I really enjoyed this.
This time I was prepared and my non-fiction interlude was The Work we are Born to Do by Nick Williams. This was lent to me by a friend years ago and I have often thought that I shouldn’t have kept it so long. Well, I’m glad I did because I gained a lot from reading it.