Fig Review


Fig - Sarah Elizabeth Schantz

I will get what I didn’t like about this book out of the way upfront. Somewhere around the 80% mark, the book stopped being as good as it had been prior to that point. It was still a good read, but the magic died and I was no longer enthralled and hypnotized by the writing. It became just okay. Had the final 20% or so been as captivating as what came before, this would’ve easily been a five-star read. Unfortunately, Schantz dropped the ball somewhere, but I cannot pinpoint where it began to go downhill. I simply found myself no longer caring and trudged through the final fifty pages like a Romero zombie through quicksand.

I was going to spend the majority of this review explaining to you what it was like growing up with my father, but I’ve decided not to. I’ve written about it before, and I don’t want to upset myself by writing about it again here. If you’re at all curious, you can read my blog post concerning my fatherHERE. You don’t have to read it to understand this review. I only thought I would share with those of you who care to know more about the experiences that molded me into the person I am today.

What I do not discuss in my blog post is the OCD that my father passed down to me. He had his routines and rituals, and I have mine. He was a hoarder and I am a collector. The only difference between those two words is order. He threw shit everywhere, and I believe in upkeep. I dust my bookcases and reorganize my shelves at least once a month. Sometimes twice in a thirty-day period. It all depends on whether or not I’ve added something new, or something of a different size. I cannot stand books being out of order, but I also cannot settle on which order I prefer: from biggest to smallest; chronologically by publication date; or by genre. What a fuckin’ dilemma. It drives me batshit, and I’m always shifting things around to find the most aesthetically pleasing solution for that month.

Suffice it to say, I related with Fig and her story. I wish my father would have given us a break from his neuroses like Fig’s mama does, but I survived nonetheless. I am who I am today because I grew up around that man. Had I not, I likely never would have written Life After Dane, which was loosely based on my childhood. My father was not physically violent, but I almost wish he had been. At least bruises and broken bones heal over time. Abused persons are all left with scars, but this self-doubt bullshit is for the fucking birds. This is one of the reasons why I don’t get mad and rage when I get negative reviews, because I usually agree with the people who say, “This guy is a horrible writer.” I dig that some people seem to like my stuff, and that’s why I continue to publish, but I’ll never think of myself as worthy of praise. You don’t like me? Cool beans. ‘Cause I don’t like me much either.

Anyfuck, I enjoyed this book and I didn’t. It took me forever to read because I related a little too well with certain scenes, especially the scenes where the reader isn’t sure if what’s happening on the page is actually happening. I could only deal with it a chapter a day, and sometimes even that was too much.

In summation: This was a difficult read for me, but I managed to finish it. I do love a challenging read, but this one hit too close for comfort. If mental illness is one of your triggers be forewarned: Fig is a sad read who’s only purpose is to pummel your feels. I’ll likely not read it again. Recommended to gluttons for punishment.

Final Judgment: Will make you count things.



Original post: