Read One, Skip One: The Sleepwalker and The Futures

January 12, 2017 Mini Book Reviews 24

The Sleepwalker, Chris BohjalianThe Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian
Fiction – Thriller (Released January 10, 2017)
304 Pages
Bottom Line: Read it.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Publisher (Doubleday)

Plot Summary: When Annalee Ahlberg, a notorious sleepwalker, disappears from her home in the middle of the night, her husband and two daughters try to piece together what happened.

My Thoughts: Chris Bohjalian’s most recent books are giving him quite a reputation for coming up with mysteries…with more. They have the who-done-it/why-done-it elements of your run-of-the-mill mystery, but he layers on something deeper. In 2016’s The Guest Room, it was sex-trafficking, and in The Sleepwalker, it’s parasomnia. I found the parasomnia angle fascinating…it’s much more than the book’s title suggests. It’s a real thing (thank you, Google) and can cause shame for the sufferer, so Bohjalian’s exploration of an extreme example of parasomnia’s potential disastrous consequences had real-life appeal for me beyond this particular story. And, I liked the psychological exploration of the impact of parasomnia on a marriage and a family.

They both felt shame, but different reasons: he because of what people saw and she because of what she could not control.

All this being said, I would have liked to see the book go in a slightly different direction. I can’t share too many details without ruining the ending, but I would’ve liked the story to explore the legal implications of parasomnia a bit more. Still, The Sleepwalker is a book you can fly through (which I need sometimes) and is going on my Page Turners list.

The Futures, Anna PitoniakThe Futures by Anna Pitoniak
Fiction – Debut (Release Date: January 17, 2017)
320 Pages
Bottom Line: Skip it.
Affiliate Link: Amazon
Source: Publisher (Lee Boudreaux Books)

Plot Summary: When college sweethearts Evan and Julia move to New York City after graduating from Yale, they face a tougher road than they imagined finding their place in the post-college world.

My Thoughts: I quite honestly don’t have a lot to say about The Futures. It’s the story of a quarter life crisis…something I certainly went through and could identify with. The “coming of age in your twenties in the big city” storyline always seems to suck me in, yet has proved disappointing the past few rounds (also Why We Came to the City).

Julia and Evan’s college and immediate post-college experience resembled my own to a certain extent (minus the Ivy League tag). Despite or (possibly because of?) this relatability, the plot was predictable and not particularly memorable. I was disappointed with the lack of “yes, that’s exactly how it is” writing, which could have upped the memorability factor for me. On the plus side, it was a nice, easy Brain Candy book that I never had to force myself to pick up.  

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24 Responses to “Read One, Skip One: The Sleepwalker and The Futures”

  1. Naomi

    I still haven’t read The Guest Room, but it sounds like I might like The Sleepwalker even better. I think I would find the parasomnia fascinating to read about! Which one did you like better? Sometimes an impossible question, I know, but… 🙂

  2. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    Looks like The Sleepwalker is a must for me! I’m slogging through All is not Forgotten. That psychiatrist is insufferable! But now I have to finish it because I need to find out if it’s (spoiler alert) his son…

  3. Susie | Novel Visits

    We definitely agree on The Futures, but maybe for slightly different reasons. I hate it when I don’t like any of the characters and that’s how I felt about with The Futures. I wanted to shout “Stop feeling sorry for yourself, already!” It was a fast read though.

  4. Bri @ Transported By Books

    I don’t think I’ve seen a truly positive review for The Futures yet so I’ll probably be skipping that one. The sleepwalkers sounds fascinating though (although, I admit, I had to google parasomnia). The entire premise sounds right up my alley and is definitely one I’m adding to my tbr.

  5. Amanda

    Oh I am so glad to see the Sleepwalker was not one to skip. I was nervous to click on your post. I loved the Guest Room so I’m excited for this.

  6. Stacy @ The Novel Life

    I too googled parasomnia while reading The Sleepwalker. It was scary fascinating all that I learned, like the husband who killed his wife but he suffered from parasomnia so was able to beat the charges. Glad you liked the book too!

  7. Amy @ Read a Latte

    I’m ALWAYS looking for a good mystery with “more” like you said! For me it’s Tana French, she’s never let me down. I’m pretty sure I have a Chris Bojalian on my shelf somewhere I should investigate!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I mean – I guess there is, but you can see it coming a mile away, so didn’t seem like a twist.

  8. Catherine

    I’m a little surprised, but we came down on the same page for The Futures. I thought you might like it more than I did. That aside, I felt the exact same way. It was good, but I feel like I’ve read it before.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I liked the beginning, then everything just became so predictable…and it didn’t have sparkling writing to make it stand out.

  9. Kimberly

    Thanks for saving me from The Futures. I had planned on reading it, but will now try something else. I’ve read The Sleepwalker and I agree that it is a page-turner.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      It’s just kind of blah. Not terrible, but maybe not worth the time to read it either.

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