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The Blinds
The BlindsKristineCoumbe (27)
Wow. Just Wow.

Props need to be given to the author. Quite an undertaking. The book is near perfect. The author took a topic such as memory removal (reminds me of Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind) to identity change does it change behavior? How does isolation factor into it all? We have a handful of characters that are more developed and do play major roles in the story.

The writing sucks you in and the pace is fast until 2/3 way through then it seems to lose steam. The pace picks up again in the final 100 pages. I felt the ending was too tidy and wrapped up quite neatly for my taste. With subject such as memory and rehabilitation the ending should not have wrapped up that easily or neatly. I would have been OK with an ambiguous ending because it would better suit the subject matter.

The BlindsAmanda (12)
Needs to be a movie

I would love to see this as a film! I feel like I could picture every detail, this was an awesome concept but I think I would enjoy it better as a movie. I could picture different actors playing the roles perfectly while reading it. Liam Neesen needs to be in it, haha! :) Definitely not the typical kind of book I choose to read, but I'm glad I switched things up a little this month and read this book.

KristineCoumbe (27)
I agree. I kept seeing Brigid Brannagh (Army Wives) as Fran and David Harbour (Stranger Things) as Cooper though.
kkahn1203 (2)
David Harbour was who I immediately thought of for Cooper's role! He's a erfect fit
JillianMcCabe (4)
Agreed this would be great as a movie or mini series! I think with that platform they would be able to show much more character development as well, since I think the book was lacking a bit in that department. But yes, Liam Neeseon would HAVE to be in it! (and Shailene Woodley as Fran)
The BlindsJessicaProano (4)
I'm not sure??

I truly have no idea how I feel about this book. I think that it was slow to get started and then rushed to get to the end. The character development left a LOT to be desired and since there were so many characters, I wished that I could have learned more about them or that they were left out. I was a bit disappointed, because I felt like there was a lot of potential to be a really great story. I wish that the pace at the end was the pace throughout the entire story.

AmandaCruz (1)
I couldn't get into this book I read the first 100 pages and had to but it down, it felt like a chore to read it.
The BlindsKayla (110)
So Many Thought-Provoking Questions

What I enjoyed about this book were the ethical and moral questions it raised about incarceration and rehabilitation. I talked about this book with a few other people to get their perspectives: Could something like The Blinds actually work in real life? Although it didn't get much attention, I think Dr. Fell's original plan for the memory technology (e.g., refugees, victims of violent crime) is really interesting. What if we could help people recover from trauma by removing the memory of the trauma? It sort of begs the question - what IS the role of memory in recovery? Thinking about the criminals - if you remove the memories of committing a crime does it also remove the desire or biological wiring to commit crime? I found it sort of hard to believe that a town full of violent people did not have more desires to commit crime. With all of that said - this book seemed very slow-going for me. I was actually looking forward to it ending so I could start something new. The premise was really unique from anything else I have read this year, but it just fell flat in terms of execution and ending.

Jess (1)
With this list of questions, I think you would love to read All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker. The novel deals with a fictional circumstance of a young woman's memory being removed of her sexual assault and the same procedure done to a veteran for PTSD. I feel that Walker dealt more appropriately with the effect of the memories being scrubbed than Sternberg in The Blinds. But to his credit, I don't really think that was his aim. I feel that the characters in The Blinds should have been much more fleshed out, but if someone gets the book rights this would make an awesome TV drama series. Other interesting item: BOTM actually added Walker's most recent book, Emma in the Night, to this month's choices.
Kayla (110)
Thank you for the recommendation! I had picked that book up at one point while visiting the bookstore but did not end up buying it. The premise sounds really interesting. For this month's book, I did get Emma in the Night so I will likely end up buying All is Not Forgotten when I am done. You are so right about the TV series. I could see this being a 6-10 episode mini series, even. I appreciate your insight about the author's purpose - I agree, it may not have been to explore memory in and of itself and that could have contributed to some minor gaps in the story. I really did like that this book was completely different than anything else I had read recently and it is always great when a book makes you think and talk through broader issues.
ReneeBuchanan (9)
You brought up an interesting point I forgot to mention. If the memory of a crime is removed from a person , does it also remove the desire to commit crime? I feel like it doesn't. For the character(s), that committed crimes regarding children, those desires for children do not just go away because they forgot they did those things. That desire is always there which is why that person does something so terrible. It shocked me that there was never an instance of crime prior to Cooper shooting the citizens. I felt that did not add up either.
The BlindsReneeBuchanan (9)
Intriguing Concept but not the best ending

So, I'll start off by saying I did enjoy this book. I read it in 2 days and thought the concept was different and intriguing. I wanted to know everybody's story and perhaps if there were less people living in the town, then we could get to know all of them a little better. However, the ending just felt too easy for me. I felt as if everything just came together all too nicely. Fran remembers everything just at the right time even though there were "triggers" for her throughout the entire book? The sheriff kills three people and no one really cares? The sheriff is able to convince Dr. Holliday to let them live there and keep funding them no problem? And also, why is the sheriff so sure that Sung wants to be the new town's mediator? Like I feel like he barely even talked to her and her character didn't get THAT much attention? Finally, why would all these characters want to stay in the Blinds when the sheriff is constantly saying he wants Fran to leave? So, her son is going to continue to grow up in a town where he is the only child and is receiving no education? I don't know. The ending just seemed unrealistic to me. Anyone else?

Mo (3)
I did not like this book at all. I almost gave up. It seemed like there were too many trapdoors that the author used.
KaseyBaril (28)
Completely agree. TBH, I was close to DNFing at 30%. Once Cooper said he killed the first guy I was hooked. However, like you said, some thing came together too nicely or cleanly. Fran just happens to remember important information at the right time (seems almost Breaking Dawn esque where the kid shows up at the last minute and the ending is just FLAT). I just don't like happy endings, lol. I wanted more drama.
BereniceMB (6)
Agree with everything you said. The book was great and then it felt like the author ran out of time and had to wrap up the story really quickly and sacrifice a million plot twists that had already been set up in the earlier chapters. Also, someone hires a bunch of people to kill the entire town to get your son but now that they've put up a resistance you're not going to try to go get him anyway? And the people who created this project are scientific geniuses but they never thought of coming up with a contingency plan in case everything did not go down as planned? I also thought some of the character development was underwhelming. You cannot make a multi-faceted character simply by showing he's a good guy and cares about saving the child but then also kills people, but they're bad people... but then he wants to save the town full of bad people and hopes they'll forgive him cause, hey! they're all bad. Seemed a little bit circular and superficial. This book feels like it needs a sequel or a prequel or a spin-off. Last, I was not made to care about any of the characters in this book. When the whole stand-off was underway, I realized I really didn't care who prevailed. I don't think I've ever felt that way reading another book.
ReneeBuchanan (9)
I agree with what you said about not caring who prevailed in the end. I think that is because there were so many residents of the town that we never got to know enough about them in order to get emotionally attached (except for Cooper and Fran or even Wayne). Had there been only the original 8 residents or some other smaller amount of residents, and we got to know more about them and like them before we knew their crimes, I think then we would have been rooting for certain characters and also would have been more devastated when certain characters towards the end died. For such a great, interesting concept, I really wish it could have been more properly executed.
BookishGramma (1)
Yes, yes, yes. I loved the concept but WAY too many questions were left unanswered, threads leading to nowhere, and bits that just didn't make any sense. I'm really good at falling into an author's story, no matter how unusual the setting or premise, but even the most out there world created by an author must follow some sort of logic as it progresses. This just didn't live up to my expectations. I enjoyed the first half, was underwhelmed by the second half, and the ending left me completely unsatisfied.
NeenaRins (6)
I couldn't agree more, specifically with him convincing Dr. Holliday to continue to fund them. She didn't even speak much on the matter - unless she agreed because the clan had begun to set her house and property on fire? Perhaps she realized that if she didn't fund them, they would continue to terrorize her - although she did mention that, that property they were setting ablaze was a minuscule piece of land for her, I'm not sure. I loved the book though, up until this specific part. Too much of the ending made me feel that I had misread something.
priscillareads (1)
Agree! I was hooked the entire time and was wondering how it was going to end. But when we got there...boner kill. But it was a great read overall!
CerebroCaro (49)
Yeah I think technically if the story continued and the Sheriff's plan did end up working out then it definitely would be too good to be true, but I think since we don't know how things will turn out from now on it was realistic enough. That struck me as odd too though! That moment that he said he trusted Sung. I thought that I must have missed some sort of interaction between them, but then remembered that he went over to Wayne's house to give him the gun and Sung was there with him so they must have chatted then.
ReneeBuchanan (9)
And also, now the town no longer has this protective barrier or secrecy about it. So what's to stop whoever else has vendettas against these criminals from coming in and killing them all?
The BlindsChinaAlbin (1)
Interesting premise is all it has going for it

Beyond that, the writing was so lazy, so disingenuous as to be actually insulting. It started out pretty mediocre--standard thriller stuff, interesting enough but not so good as to stand out from the rest of its peers in the genre. As the story starts to reach its climax, the author has all of his characters making stupid, nonsensical choices. (Spoilers ahead!) The town's founders decide they're done running the town experiment, so the best way to shut it down is to murder every single resident?? And the best way to do that is to hire some rando to gun them all down?? Please! I was rolling my eyes so hard at this point. And then we've got the residents--the author can't seem to decide whether or not they're sympathetic characters (except for the love interest, of course, bc god forbid our hero have a real moral quandary), so he makes a half-hearted gesture towards their humanity while he slaughters them. What?? So the sheriff murders two of the residents--with whom he's been living in this tiny, isolated town for eight years--in cold blood, without any hesitation. But hey, it's fine because they were criminals. Barely any acknowledgment of how f'ed up that is on the sheriff's part.

Just...I could go on, but I'm already mad I spent this much time with this book. Perhaps what's most disappointing is that with this premise, there were so very many interesting philosophical and ethical questions that could have been discussed. But it's like the author either didn't know or didn't care why his premise was interesting.

Alright, end of rant.

KaseyBaril (28)
I definitely agree with being bothered that it was /okay/ to just take the contracted kills because they were 'criminals' when the whole point of the town is that they've lost these memories. The people started new lives and had different personalities. The premise was interesting and I started to read the book more once the "sheriff" (because he wasn't really?) revealed he was the killer, but I was SO close to DNFing at 30% omg.
BereniceMB (6)
I just read your post after writing a response to the post immediately above it. We had the same exact reaction to the book (but you expressed it better). So.. ditto!
JenONeal (30)
perfect 100% this is everything you are a goddess
The BlindsElise (27)
Welcome to the blinds

Step one: http://people.com/celebrities/

Step two: https://www.presidentsusa.net/presvplist.html

What's your name? Welcome to Caesura.

CerebroCaro (49)
Hehe this was fun. Hello, my name is Carmen Coolidge, nice to meet you.
Elise (27)
Hah! Nice to meet you, Coolidge. My selected name is Evangeline Tompkins.
NeenaRins (6)
Oh! This is fun :) Hi there! I'm Olivia Mondale!
The BlindsTBurr (25)

Let me first start by saying I enjoyed this book, however, it was not my favorite BOTM and I probably wouldn't recommend this to anyone. It was a pretty fast-paced read and an interesting concept but I think the ending could have been a little better.

Now, onto the reason I came here to write this post! I have a habit of visualizing characters as actors/celebrities because it's so much easier for me to keep up with who is who that way. Right off the bat I had Calvin Cooper pegged as Hopper from Stranger Things. I also envisioned Clint Eastwood as William Wayne and Craig Robinson as Robinson (probably only because of the last name). Am I the only one who does this?! If not, who were you visualizing while reading this?

ReneeBuchanan (9)
Spot on with Hopper as Cooper and Clint Eastwood as Wayne!! I could totally see it
Kaitlin (22)
I pictured Hopper as Cooper too!!
BeckyF (11)
Yes, I tend to visualize characters in a book as either celebrities or people I know. I agree that I enjoyed the book but it wasn't my favorite or one I would necessarily recommend.
Elise (27)
I really enjoyed this book! It wasn't my favorite book in the world and it wasn't without its technical problems, but I enjoyed myself! So what more could you ask for? It's an interesting concept. There were parts at the end that were a bit predictable, but the book was engaging throughout. Little things annoyed me though, like if there was only one little boy in the town, how could the library have a well stocked YA section? You would think that the kid would just get all of those books gifted to him so he didn't have to go to the library to read books only he would read, haha. It's these little things that keep me up at night! But I digress. As far as imagining celebrities for the characters, I usually do that in books, but found in The Blinds that I could only do that properly with one character! The agent, Santayana, came into my head as Lydia from Breaking Bad. The high heels in the desert imagery made this impossible not to happen for me.
PiedPiper (10)
I think the well stocked YA adult section was a result of their affection for the boy and attempt to cater to him. same reason for a playground. That was my thought!
KristineCoumbe (27)
Yes I saw cooper as that same character and fran as the red headed wife on army wives.
The Blindsjoseph89 (1)
poor ending

Enjoyed this, clever concept, good page turner, and the theme of memory was interesting, but ... is it necessary (spoiler) to end it with a blood bath? Felt like I was in a Tarantino movie. This stuff is pervasive, predictable, and lazy.

AlejandraIvanez (1)
I can understand your opinion on it not needing to end in a blood bath, but to me personally I thought it went with the theme. Considering it's a secret government experiment, that involved a self important man who committed a crime, how could it not end with some blood being spilled? For me it seemed logical that that would happen.
NeenaRins (6)
I also agree to this. While I did find it almost comical to let a murderer on a gruesome rampage with nothing to stop him, I did find that it was almost necessary in order for the book to flow properly. I also (and I might be the only one) enjoyed how the author wrote that portion. Where he said something along the lines of, "the agents weren't worried when they lost track of Dietrich...", "nor were they worried when they couldn't find him..." Although I knew what was going to happen, that was exciting.
Kaitlin (22)
Honestly the ending was cringeworthy...all the violence just seemed unnecessary and forced.
holcombshannonm (1)
Even though I definitely enjoyed this book, I kind of agree about the ending. For most of the book, I thought Cooper was going to end up having his memories of his killings erased and that he would end up a normal resident of the Blinds.
PiedPiper (10)
Wait.. you do know he was, right? Did you miss that part? He killed one man, granted, but he still had it erased and was an actual resident. I think that's pretty significant.
RebeckaHayward (6)
The beginning had me hooked. I wanted to know the background of every character. So, in that aspect, I couldn't put it down....UNTIL the last few chapters. It was very predictable and somewhat unrealistic. However, as a whole...I enjoyed it as my first BOTM.
Carolyn (1)
Agreed. I enjoyed it and had a hard time putting it down but mostly because I wanted to know how it ended. I have mixed feelings about it. Can't decide if I liked it or not!
RebeckaHayward (6)
The beginning had me hooked. I wanted to know the background of every character. So, in that aspect, I couldn't put it down....UNTIL the last few chapters. It was very predictable and somewhat unrealistic. However, as a whole...I enjoyed it as my first BOTM.
RebeckaHayward (6)
The beginning had me hooked. I wanted to know the background of every character. So, in that aspect, I couldn't put it down....UNTIL the last few chapters. It was very predictable and somewhat unrealistic. However, as a whole...I enjoyed it as my first BOTM.
The Blindssoundslikeliar (18)

I really freakin' enjoyed this book. I thought the ending was great and the characters (even though there was a million of them) were well thought out. I loved the moral ambiguity too - we know these people were the worst of the worst and did horrible things but the author made it really hard to hate them (with the exception of a few, ahem, Dietrich). I think it says a lot about ethics and how not everything is black and white.

I do wonder if he's setting up for a sequel though. There were definitely things left open-ended that could indicate that. I liked how everything was wrapped up fairly neatly but I think I would be on board for a sequel too. Anyone agree?

NeenaRins (6)
YES! While I had some technical problems with this book, I absolutely LOVED it. I seriously hope there is a sequel, or maybe a movie, though movies tend to ruin it for me. But yes! Absolutely loved it. Everytime I went to read, I felt like I was a resident of The Blinds. I thought the author wrote incredibly descriptively, pulling me right along into the book with the other characters.
amoore91 (2)
I would love to see a sequel about how things continued forward in the Blinds after everything that had happened. I completely agree that it says a lot about ethics and really enjoyed that side of the story. While I was not a huge fan of it ending in blood bath I liked the bit after it where the Town came together to overcome the outsiders and continue on in their town that they had grown to love. Overall I thought that it was a great book with well thought out and developed characters. I would defenitly read a sequel!
The BlindsJenONeal (30)
holy cow this book was terrible

Wowwowwow I hated The Blinds. For a lot of reasons. But I need more time to think them over.

Here is what I will say for now. I am from Texas. I am Texan. I am that annoying person from Texas who loves being from Texas. The Blinds is based in Texas. It took me so few pages to think, "This author has never ever set foot in Texas."

Sure enough, he's from Toronto, lives in Brooklyn. But that's not to say he hasn't had experience in Texas or he didn't do research. So I messaged him on twitter and asked him. He responded with a link to this article: http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-culture/one-question-interview-adam-sternbergh/ where he talks about "researching Texas his whole life" because of watching Westerns. And you know what? If he had gone full stereotypical Texas western I wouldn't have had a problem. But he didn't. HE DIDN'T EVEN GIVE COOPER A COWBOY HAT WHICH WOULD REALLY JUST BE UTILITARIAN.

I know it's a bit silly but I just wanted the author to do his research and he didn't and it took me out of an already sloddy piece of work.

Also, spoiler alert the one black dude gets killed for no reason. It's sloppy, it's old, it's insulting, I'm not here for it.

Anyone else feeling me?

CerebroCaro (49)
What exactly was annoying about how he described it? I feel like from what I remember it was mostly discussing the heat. I disagree with the fact that Robinson's death was for no reason and sloppy and insulting because in my opinion he was the hero at the end. He knew he was risking his life to turn the tables and give the "good guys" the upper hand, but he did it anyway.
JenONeal (30)
Honestly, it was just a feeling. I could just TELL. And then I read that article (highly recommend it) and it confirmed it. It really got my goat that this dude could think he knew a place by watching Westerns. Was he a hero? Couldn't they have just not read the files? How did the murder/suicide thing make sense anyway? I couldn't wrap my head around it.
BriannaGreen (1)
I'm from Central Texas. Lived here my whole life and I honestly don't think he did a horrible job of portraying West Texas. Not everyone wears a cowboy hat. I think it adds to his character- no hat, toy sheriff's badge, etc.
ShannonAshley (1)
The author also consistently made a comical point for sherrif Cooper to say things like 'it's at this point in a conversation that I wish I had a hat to tip forward' and such. The concept of not having a hat was awknowledged, as was the fact that Cooper was originally from the north east before his drunk belligerent decisions brought him to the blinds. I feel as if there were other important parts of the story that needed to be addressed better. Like yes, (spoiler oncoming look away) protect the kid, but once fran got her memory back, why wasn't she screaming about how her ex husband was a god damned fucking pedophile. Her only crime was shooting a pedophile. Someone give fran several gourmet dinners, and her own washer and drier. Mom of the year, she had her memory wiped almost completely and still held herself together enough to raise a child. This book had a very powerful underbelly of the abuse of power and money in the United States, the gray areas of science social experiments, and th failure of our criminal justice system. All topics that need to be brought to light more often, and i was very grateful for this book in that manner
JenONeal (30)
But like... was it comical? I got frustrated with how many times I read, "He wished he had a hat to tip rn cause wouldn't that be just so on the nose." If we're calling that character development it is lazy. Every character in this book can be identified by one or two things and nothing else-- the one with a badge and no hat, the one with the kid, the one with the tattoos, the one who likes tools, etc. That's ALL we got. Flat, hollow, boring.
NeenaRins (6)
Absolutely agree with what you said there at the end. This book brought out so many topics that are never talked of, and are almost so taboo but all to real. The way that, if you have the money and power, people turn heads. That people will cover up their dirty work and secrets, especially those with money and power. It's disgusting, but I really believe the author did such a good job at putting this all into perspective.
soundslikeliar (18)
I'm not from Texas so I can't comment on the rage you seem to feel regarding the location haha but I sort of thought that the location was the least important part of the story. The point of the Blinds was that it was isolated. The third least populated area in the US. I didn't think there was that much in there that actually pertained much to Texas. To me it was more character driven than anything else. SPOILERS: As for Robinson dying - I agree it was disappointing but I kind of understand why it was done. Robinson knew that the town wouldn't band together unless the agents shot someone in that moment and he decided to sacrifice himself so that Fran wouldn't be the one shot (so she could take care of her kid). It was also momentous because he was the only truly innocent person there (besides Dawes who couldn't do anything at that point because she had also been shot). So his death really rallied the town to fight back despite their pasts.
The BlindsRebeckaHayward (6)
Oh my goodness!

Who else chose "The blinds" for their August BOTM?! I am starting Chapter 13 and I am finding it so hard to put this book down! What does everyone else think so far?

KristineCoumbe (27)
Holy Crap! This book is so hard to put down. I haven't had a book suck me in like this in a very long time! I am only a quarter in. I see myself finishing this book in a few days! If only I did not have to work or sleep.
NeenaRins (6)
Just finished it yesterday! I LOVED it. I am forcing my father to read it.
KristineCoumbe (27)
Holy Crap! This book is so hard to put down. I haven't had a book suck me in like this in a very long time! I am only a quarter in. I see myself finishing this book in a few days! If only I did not have to work or sleep.
The BlindsTBurr (25)

Okay, I've only just started this book and am about 80ish pages in...but I'm having a REALLY hard time trying to keep all of these characters straight!! Someone please tell me I'm not the only one!!

KristineCoumbe (27)
I am going to make a chart. I do think the author was smart in how he reminds of who the characters are that were previously mentioned.
RebeckaHayward (6)
Same here! I'm on chapter 13 and hoping I sort them out better! What an addicting novel so far!
ndarty (17)
I'm on page 228. Had the same problem at first. The more I read thru the novel the more the people make sense.