Rocklin, CA, United States | Member Since 2004
Coben may as well have started out, "It was a dark and stormy night..." because "Six Years" is as close to a melodrama as anything I've had the misfortune to read (or listen to) in a very long time.
Actually, it starts out just fine -- for the first hour or so, I was interested, thinking I'd found a good one. But then alas, the love bug bites. On and on and on, big-guy Jake Fisher protagonist (literally, a big strapping linebacker kind of guy) shifts into serious moaning over his lost love, Natalie, who he'd dated for three months six years ago, but who had then ditched him and immediately married someone else. At her wedding -- to which he went, but of course! -- Natalie begged him to 'leave us alone', and for six years, Jake did. But then....
From that point on, it was surreal. I tried to play this 'theater of the mind' out in my head. It's so unseemly: Here's this big guy, a tenured professor of political science, well liked among students, who spends HOURS our of time moaning, whining, fantasizing and carrying on about his lost love Natalie, how it was so earthshakingly "special", how theirs was a once in a lifetime passion, no one else could ever understand, no other woman would ever do, how their love will last forever, even if they never see each other again... ta da, ta da....
You get the idea. If that had been a woman carrying on like that, we would have said, "Sheesh, girl! Get over it! He married someone else! Move on!" But since it's a guy weeping and emoting all over the pages like that, I guess we're supposed to believe that it's just a manly man, getting in touch with his feelings.. How sweet.
In fact, he goes on for so long, with no indication whatever of EVER quitting, I started to wonder if the Jake the protagonist was going to become a stalker. Was THAT the plot? Then I started to think: I suppose most of us women, at one time or another, had a relationship with a man who simply wouldn't give up, who kept on and on, to the point that we felt actual fear. For most of us, time was the cure. the guy went away, eventually. But here's Jake. Doesn't look like he'll ever move on --
Unfortunately, this is not a stalker book. That might have been more interesting. Suffice it to say that Jack Fisher is a lovesick mess, pure and simple. The plot is inherently incredible -- doesn't matter what it is, in the face of so much sloppy love talk the plot takes second place. Who cares?
And while I've greatly enjoyed many of Scott Brick's narrations -- especially Nelson DeMille's Jon Corey series -- this one is absolutely insufferable. Brick's overwrought reading -- literally groaning with unrequited love, now and then -- brings on barf-time. Lemme outta here, this is BAD. Save your credit and remember Harlan Coben when he wrote really good thrillers, not sloppy fourth-rate romance.
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