The inconceivable life of Quinn by Marianna Barr was surprising. I really thought I would love it, and it’s not that I didn’t, it’s just that the ending came way out of left field. So much so, that it left me feeling unsatisfied. Which is a massive shame, because the rest of the book was awesome.
“Quinn Cutler is sixteen and the daughter of a high-profile Brooklyn politician. She’s also pregnant, a crisis made infinitely more shocking by the fact that she has no memory of ever having sex. Before Quinn can solve this deeply troubling mystery, her story becomes public. Rumors spread, jeopardizing her reputation, her relationship with a boyfriend she adores, and her father’s campaign for Congress. Religious fanatics gather at the Cutlers’ home, believing Quinn is a virgin, pregnant with the next messiah. Quinn’s desperate search for answers uncovers lies and family secrets—strange, possibly supernatural ones. Might she, in fact, be a virgin?”
3 out of 5 stars
The premise of this book is that a 16-year-old girl, who happens to be a virgin and the daughter of a political candidate, ends up pregnant. Nobody knows how or why she’s pregnant, and throughout the book, she maintains her position that she is a virgin.
The premise was great when I read the blurb I was really intrigued as to how this would play out. I really wanted to know how she got pregnant. And the thing is, I really thought I would find out, and in a way I did, but also I didn’t.
The style of the book is written in, is a really easy to read, nice and quick, flowing prose. I was sucked in, and despite the plot not being particularly fast or complicated, the characters had a lot of depth and I really enjoyed reading the story.
The biggest problem for me was that the author made an omission. There is a lesson for writers here around Chekhov’s gun. Chekhov’s gun is a theory that says don’t show the readers a gun in a scene, unless later on the gun will be used or have a purpose.
Now, the whole book was based on a pregnancy that we wanted to find out the answer to who the father was. It was set in a real world with no fantastical elements. So when Barr pulled out a DNA test and tested two of the lads that were probable candidates, I expected to find out who the father was (at some point). Without giving too much away, the ending did not explicitly tell us who the father was. Instead, it used mythology and an extraordinary mythological based reason for the pregnancy.
Personally, I couldn’t equate the DNA test with the mythology. Either tell us who the father was via DNA or leave it out. It was very distracting given the books ending an explanation for the pregnancy. I was just left feeling frustrated and like I hadn’t really got an answer. It felt, unfinished.
The characters were good, I felt for the main character, I liked the protagonists parents and how they shit they were as parents. But I would have liked to seen a bit more depth to the father in particular because he was such a great complex character, and I didn’t quite get enough page time from him.
I think this author, is a great writer. I really like her style, her prose, and the way she sucks you into the story. Unfortunately, the ending really didn’t do it for me, and I felt there was a huge dissonance between the real-life setting of the rest of the book and the fantastical ending. That being said, I would definitely read other books written by this author, she’s really engaging and one to look out for.
Will you read the book? Let me know in the comments below.