Cover Image: Caroline

Caroline

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Member Reviews

This one is a mixed bag. 

On the plus side: The writing is excellent, the characters compelling, and most importantly, this is an exceptional and necessary portrait of blindness.

It’s extraordinarily rare to see a blind protagonist, and Spratt excels at demonstrating what the character’s life is like, the obstacles, treatment by others, and even the things that are quite manageable despite what differently abled folks may think.

It’s also an interesting examination of what I would call do-gooder law, and the fact that it’s not entirely as wholesome as we would like to believe. 

In the downside, there’s no getting around that the ending makes the entire story feel bleakly depressing, and while perhaps a realistic sequence of events, it’s not what anyone (neither the characters nor the reader) would want, and it leaves you feeling sort of despondent and hopeless.

Another issue is Caroline herself. While we might feel sorry for her, she’s not exactly…likable. Again, it’s probably a pretty realistic portrait of someone like her, but she’s difficult to feel any warmth toward, and that matters in the end in a way that it doesn’t in some books.
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The description of a blind lawyer who meets a young woman in a fiction writing class was appealing. The book not so much. There seemed to be a bunch of time jumps. First he is helped on the way home by a young woman but his wife is at home. Then he meets a young woman in a fiction class and they are having an affair. Was this before or after the subway girl? Then there are the stories he and Caroline wrote for their class. I gave up at 30% because I just didn't see what the plot was or where the story is going. I found Nick to be very cold and had an odd relationship with his parents. I just finished reading four great books and perhaps this book just wasn't the right time for me.

Thanks to Netgalley and Books Fluent for providing me with a copy
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This was an interesting book with a fascinating premise from the perspective of a blind lawyer. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to feel engaged with the story. It might make for a more interesting group read because it can prompt discussion.
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I really wanted to like this book, as the description intrigued me greatly. I haven’t read many, if any at all, books where the protagonist is blind and how it played into his profession of being a lawyer.. 

Unfortunately, I found Nick, our protagonist, very hard to empathize with. He had very shallow and simplistic, sexist views towards women. These views were reflected upon his love interest, the titular character of Caroline. I really wanted to like Caroline, but I struggled to feel any depth to her character. As we only knew her from Nick’s point of view, she felt very flat, one dimensional. 

I also worried how well the author is able to relate to the experiences of Blind people and how much of the book has been based on stereotypes/guessing. I do think, and hope, that a lot of research was done. In a world where disabled people already struggle to be able to publish their own stories, I do find it problematic when non-disabled people are able to publish stories without truly knowing the trials and tribulations disabled people go through to do the same. 

And what I mean by that is, in the example of books, abled people have a much easier time getting people to publish their books whereas disabled people have a harder time getting publishers to take on their novels. 

So, ultimately, while I truly wanted to like “Caroline,” I was unable to do so, due to the many problems within how the characters were portrayed. Many times, I often forget Nick was blind and then there would be the quick mention of it as to remind us readers. Then, of course, there was the way in which Nick spoke of and thought of women, which left a bad taste in my mouth and mind. 


Adrian Spratt’s writing style was excellent, though, and that was a highlight of his book. The way he wrote was engaging and kept me reading until the end. 


Thank you to netgalley, the publisher, and author for providing an arc in exchange for an honest an unbiased review.
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This just wasn't for me.  Too cerebral.  I couldn't tell you what it was really about or what I was supposed to take away from it.  I definitely think it has an audience.  It just wasn't me.
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Slow paced and quite difficult to get through. I was getting Anne Tyler/Accidental Tourist vibes from the blurb, but unfortunately this fell flat for me.
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Caroline is a novel about relationships. Written from the point of view of a young lawyer named Nick, it centers on his relationship with an elusive woman named Caroline. Once I got into the story, I turned pages compulsively.
The novel is enriched by numerous secondary characters, from his colleagues at the organization that represents impoverished criminal defendants to the colorful characters at Caroline’s favorite bar. There’s a villain, too, of sorts. Lively dialog makes all the characters come alive.
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I had a hard time getting into this book but once i did it was quite a read, an interesting story filled with an amazing writing. I did find it a bit hard connecting with some of the characters. But an amazing read regardless
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I very much wanted to be able to finish this book, but this is a DNF for me. To be honest, I don't know what the policy is for NetGalley when you have a DNF, but I wanted to write a much a review of what I did read, so that folks can decide if they want to read the book. 

Sadly, I have been stuck at 21% for a week and just cannot bring myself to read any more. Every time I pick it up to read the next chapter, I've had to re-read that chapter several times and still remember nothing of what I read.

I wanted to read more because I genuinely like the writing style, I love the short chapters, the use of telling a story within a story. But I can't get past the idea that I am about a quarter of the way in and all I know about Caroline is that Nick liked her immediately and his coworker kept asking "any developments?" every time they talked. I felt like there wasn't room for a slow developing relationship and that the side characters kept trying to force it for Nick. 

And as a character, I really wanted to like Nick. I've not read many books where the main character was blind and was really excited. Of what I did read, I really enjoyed how he experiences and navigates the world. I just don't much care for every interaction with a woman felt like a "this could be a romance, this could be a physical relationship, this needs to just be professional". It didn't seem like he much cared to give women a chance to see what they want, it was just about him. 

I was not going to give a star rating, as it was a DNF. but in order to publish reviews on NetGalley, there needs to be a rating. I truly hope this book finds the people it is intended for. 

Thank you, Adrian Spratt, Books Fluent, and NetGalley for this e-ARC in exchange for a honest review. Caroline is due to be published on February 15, 2022.
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I wasn't feeling this book initially but it eventually picked up. The disability representation was well written and didn't make up the entire story. Some areas fell flat but it was a decent book as a whole.
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I thought this was an interesting story -- excellent writing, for sure. I had a hard time connecting with the characters, but I think this will be a "win" for other readers.
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We begin with Nick in the present day before being drawn into a retelling of his love affair with Caroline in the 1980s. As a blind narrator, Nick has some interesting observations about the way the world treats people it perceives as limited. I found these the most successful parts of the novel, as the love story and the commentary on writing both fell flat.
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Spratt's novel definitely is one of the most solid out there as far as the disability representation goes, however I was not sold on the love story.
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This is a unique book to me as I’ve never read from the perspective of a blind narrator. It was quite a learning experience for that alone. It did take a bit to draw me in, it had a little bit of a slow start. Overall it’s a well done novel.
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“Writing can be compensation for a dull life”

This quote from this book stuck out to me.  As it encompasses most of my feelings toward the book. Spratt is compensating, yet it’s the book that is overall dull for me. I do, however, like some aspects of Spratt’s style of writing. His word choice is is clear and vivid. The reader really understands Nick throughly. You also deeply get to know Caroline and her pains.  I also like that while Nick is blind, and that adds a great layer to the story, it isn’t the focal point of this story.   It just left me wanting more. If you’re into the disimpassioned, real-life, drawn out day-to-day novels, then I think you will enjoy this. Overall, this is still a good debut novel from the author.
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I enjoyed this book. The writing was great; it was more highbrow than many fiction books on the market today. I liked the story within a story part of it. I had never read a book with a blind narrator before, so I was interested in reading about the challenges, difficulties and discriminations that blind people face. The chemistry between Nick and Caroline was good; I understood how a staid lawyer would be attracted to a free spirit. Overall, I thought that this was a solid read that I would recommend to lovers of literary fiction.
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#Caroline perfectly evidences how an intricate and emotional story can exist without the frills of setting and place. Adrian Spratt builds a world using memories, tone of voice, smells and imagined expressions that holds it own and focuses the reader on the story.  However, for me, the narrative has been written with too much hindsight to allow for suspense. The story itself feels like an act of Catharism for the writer that I struggled to engage with. Overall it left me with the questions; what is this story actually about, did the writer want his readers to be so wholly disconnected from Caroline, and,  if so, why?
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This book took a few chapters to hook me, but once it did, I was in. It’s narrated by Nick, a lawyer for the EPA who also happens to be blind, as he looks back on a formative romantic relationship in his life. I appreciated reading a novel where the character’s blindness was important to the story but not THE story. I liked that the narrator was self aware and reflective as he looked back. I didn’t come away feeling as though I fully knew or understood Caroline—which may well have been the point! A few things could have beeb tighter. I think this book would have benefitted from being 10-15% shorter. The intro and ending in present day didn’t add to the story for me.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Literary, character-centered, and a well drawn story. Much to enjoy from an author who is new to me.
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3.5 stars.

“He laughed pleasantly. “Something I observed was that Caroline never acted as though you had physical limitations. She adapted to your needs, but in the way we all adapt to our companions, one way or the other – the way you adapted to hers. You were happy together.”” (Quote from ARC)

A well adapted blind hero revisits a past love in “Caroline”, by Adrian Spratt (Books Fluent), an evocative tale with marks of sadness but also hope. 
Besides the intrinsic sadness and nostalgia, the story about Nick and Caroline is told in a somewhat dispassionate tone, filtering what was a heartfelt love story decades ago.
Watching a blind lawyer navigate his career in 1980’s New York was an interesting dimension of the book. The contrast between the two eras is compelling, too.
Although the hero, Nick, is in love with Caroline, we sense the pain of loss is already mitigated through the lenses of time. The ignorance or unawareness (the blindness?) about Caroline’s issues ends up being more poignant than the disability itself.
This was very solid in the disability representation; the intensity level of the love story was not so compelling.
I found some parts of the story a bit boring, but I suspect it’s just a personal preference about reading a love story set in the outdated yet so familiar 1980s (showcasing how technology drastically changed our lives).
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