Book Review: These Gentle Wounds by Helene Dunbar

January 5, 2015

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: These Gentle Wounds by Helene DunbarThese Gentle Wounds by Helene Dunbar
Published by Flux on 1st May 2014
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 307
Sometimes I wish I’d lost a leg or something. Everyone can understand that. They never get it when what’s been broken is inside your head.

Five years after an unspeakable tragedy that changed him forever, Gordie Allen has made a new home with his half-brother Kevin. Their arrangement works since Kevin is the only person who can protect Gordie at school and keep him focused on getting his life back on track.

But just when it seems like things are becoming normal, Gordie’s biological father comes back into the picture, demanding a place in his life. Now there’s nothing to stop Gordie from falling into a tailspin that could cost him everything—including his relationship with Sarah, the first girl he’s trusted with the truth. With his world spinning out of control, the only one who can help Gordie is himself . . . if he can find the strength to confront the past and take back his future.

I was so so excited to read These Gentle Wounds, but unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations, and I was left feeling a little underwhelmed by the entire book once I’d finished it.

What drew me to These Gentle Wounds was that Gordie, the main character, is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder since he was the only survivor in a murder/suicide attempt by his mother. He’s been left with his half brother, his brother’s dad and an abusive father who disappeared five years ago, but now wants Gordie back in his life. Combined, this all sounds good, but something got lost in the book and it all fell a little flat for me. There was almost too much going on, and things weren’t given much attention when they could have been, and the details that could’ve helped the story come alive weren’t given much thought at all.

For me, some parts felt so believable, like Gordie’s ‘spins’ where he gets swallowed up in what happened to him 5 years ago. He can’t sleep well, his hand tremors, all these little things that I thought were so realistic. Gordie was very well written, and everyone else felt a little 2D when I read about them. The romance was a little off too, it felt disconnected to the plot, and slightly unnecessary, but I understand why it was included.

I’ll be interested to see what Dunbar releases next, as her writing was excellent, and I did, on the whole, like reading These Gentle Wounds, so she’s definitely an author I’ve added to my radar. I overhyped this book for myself, so it’s not a terrible book, I just let myself down a little, I think.