Book Review: Schroder by Amity GaigeSunday, July 5, 2015
Schroder by Amity Gaige is one of those books I picked up on a whim. I was actually looking for a Neil Gaiman book, which the library didn't have, when the cover art of this book flickered in my eye. Always the one to judge a book by it's cover (yes, you read that right), I knew this was going to be a must read. I flipped through the cover flap a bit, decided I like the sound of this man's perspective, and was on my way home. I'm so, so glad I engaged in this delight of an impulse.
Eric Schroder is running from his past. A former German immigrant, he has assumed the name Eric Kennedy and through people's assumption to him being related to the famous family has made a name for himself, completed university, obtained a career, and started a family. Unfortunately for Eric, his relationship turns sour and in the heat of a very messy custody battle, Eric kidnaps his 6 year old daughter, Meadow. The two end up on a very long chase, narrowly escaping authorities until Eric finds himself cornered by his own lies.
What I liked: Eric recounts his experiences from the correctional facility, offering a first person insight to his life. Seeing his perception of story creates a unique sort of empathy - you know the character is in the wrong, but at the same time you want everything to work out for him. At every turn, you are reminded that his collection of white lies created his mess, yet you understand how his decisions were induced through the social pressure of immigration and bullying. I'm a big fan of understanding why people make questionable decisions and tend to devour any form of media dedicated to it. Schroder allows you to get inside the character's mind and see what makes him tick. He undoubtedly has many human emotions we can connect with - his love for and desperation to keep his daughter, the pressure of being harassed in middle school, his desire to go back and repair his relationship with his wife and his father... these are all things each of us have seen, if not experienced. Each one of us can feel his feelings in our hearts which allows the reader to have a relationship with Eric Schroder.
What I disliked: Amity Gaige almost got too personal. Sometimes there would be footnotes that would drag from one page to the next of Eric going off on a tangent about some previous life experience that he felt the need to explain. While I appreciate and respect the artistic touch, it was annoying to have the pages and flow broken. I found myself skipping the footnotes more often than not.
All in all, I really, really liked this book. Schroder is a lesson in understanding humanity, reasoning, and empathy. If you like stories about delving into the human psyche, Schroder is for you.