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Books & Chocolate

I love to read just about anything, as long as it's fiction. I read for me - that means I read what I want, when I want. My reviews tend to mostly be based on how I'm able to personally connect with the story/characters. They are not intended to influence someone to read, or not read, a particular book. I always encourage people to take a chance and make up your own mind.


Oh, and I love chocolate.

A Simple Plan

A Simple Plan - Scott B. Smith

A Simple Plan is anything but simple. It's interesting to me because I didn't like any of the characters in this book (maybe a handful of the side characters, but not many) or any of the choices they made, yet I still enjoyed the book. I'd like to think that no one would let the thrill of having so much money at their disposal make them do such horrific things, but the reality is that in this world there are some messed up people. We're led to believe that Hank and Sarah are 'normal', but no - they are messed up.


For many, this seems to be a love it or hate it kind of book. I was able to land in the middle of the road. I thought it was written well and it held my attention, making me want to keep reading to find out how everything was going to work out. I liked the complexity of the situation. How the primary characters tried to continuously justify their actions and were driven to do what they did out of necessity or self-defense. I liked how they thought they'd do one thing - the right thing - when viewing it as a hypothetical situation but then would instantly look at it a different way - the wrong way - when it was presented as an actual situation. For me, it showed the delicate balance in human nature. How deep down most of us want to do the right thing, but when it comes right down to it, the right thing can be difficult to do. This book takes the situations to the extreme, one most of us readers will never have to encounter (thankfully). However, the concepts still apply to just about every situation we face. We might not find 4 million dollars, but what would we do if we found a money bag on the ground in a parking lot with 4 hundred dollars and no identification in it? One decision leads to the next, and so the path has been laid. 


One small issue I had with the book was that at times I felt it was too drawn out, especially toward the end. But maybe that's what the author wanted. Maybe it was a way to try and make the reader really believe that these were just normal, average people and they got caught up in some very messed up situations. 


I guess the main thing that kept this as 'middle of the road' for me rather than really good was how the book ended for the main characters. I don't want to give spoilers, so I'll just say that we're left with the message of 'crime doesn't pay'. I get that and like that. I like that the punishments for the characters were subtle and not the typical punishment you'd expect for the crimes they committed. However, the things that Hank and Sarah did were by no means normal. There were even moments along the way where Hank fantasized about doing more. I believe that there are people who just 'snap' with some sort of trigger and then suddenly become the bad person they didn't know they were capable of being. However, my personal view is that there was something messed up in their wiring to begin with, and I don't know how that person just suddenly stops again. Hank and Sarah didn't 'accidentally' do these things, nor did they all happen in the heat of the moment. They were choices and in some cases they were carefully planned out. They even 'celebrated' most of them after the fact. That's the part for me that just felt too 'simple'. Yes they had to live with the consequences and we are told that they often think about it and when a tragedy strikes them years later they feel it's a form of punishment. But I don't believe they'd be able to turn off that dark side of themselves that they created so easily.


I felt there should have been more in the end about how this changed them as people and not just get the glimpse of how it changed their lives.