Book review: devotion

Devotion is a small book packed to the punch, with gimmicks, horror and adventure. The book cover is quite interesting: it has the picture of a rat embossed in gold, on a green background. Maile Meloy is an established fiction author already who has written numerous large volumes, and is especially skilled in demonstrating a scene and creating characters that you can identify with. In the book, you meet Eleanor - a single mother who is attempting to kiss goodbye her life as an overgrown child.


She wants to move out of her parents' home and kickstart her own life. Eleanor lives in that home with her child, Hattie; she is almost there at the crossroad when she manages to find a house for sale, after years spent saving up. Out of a seeming miracle, Eleanor finds a home she adores, and one she absolutely can afford. Eleanor is inexperienced with the concept of purchasing houses, but she goes along for the ride anyway. The real estate broker she converses with is authoritative and impatient, and a bit like an agony aunt, mesmerised by the roots of sycamore trees, in the yard of the house she wants to purchase. It is always the same old story: Eleanor makes a wrong deal that haunts her for the rest of her naïve life.

The deal is a wrong move, but Eleanor doesn't realise this because she is proud, frustrated and desperate to grow up. She wants to start a grown-up life already, and is so sick and tired of living under her parents' shadow. But this is a horror story, and the horror is in the situations she has to deal with everyday, because of a miscalculated retrospect. Then some thousands of rats emerge in the picture, who are running from an exterminator proclaiming the rats have been age-old neighbourhood troubles, because of two elderly sisters who keep them as pets and feed them, right next-door from Eleanor. The rats are the bad guys in the story because they have inhabited the whole house and Eleanor can do nothing about it because her fear is roped up with her bad choices in life, that has crippled her so much, she is unable to move from the spot she has just bought herself in.

The book runs its course with the bad decisions the protagonist has made and how she has trapped herself in that house she just purchased. This is because the house is tied to her savings, her daughter born out of a one-sided love affair for Eleanor, which she explains as a mutual feeling everyone has felt at one point or the other - falling, hard, for a guy who seems to be devoid of the concept of any kind of human relationships, because he isn't a die-hard romantic. The book is an interesting tale on a tiny episode of the larger story: how sometimes bad moves ruin what could have possibly even been a perfectly happy ending, even for a overgrown child, such as Eleanor. That is the point of the entire tiny book and it is a riveting read, if you can stomach all of the bad moves, enough, to not soak in that putrid atmosphere of someone else's life for so long, you have forgotten to live your own.

This review was written by Fashion Girl