Lanza, Lindsey. Speechless. self-published. 340 pp. ISBN 979-8218076191 $16.99
Lucy, a writer of fairy tale spinoffs for teens, is flying across the country to move in with her college roommate. She is literally at the airport and getting ready to board her delayed flight when her bestie CANCELS on her. Henry, a tall and handsome Brit, lands in the seat next to her after a stranger is mean to her service dog. Henry just happens to be her favorite composer! He promptly invites Lucy and Rowan to come and stay with him and his motley crew of musicians in Malibu. It becomes a seven dwarves-like tale, with Lucy cooking up a storm for Surfer (Graham), Flirty (Jayce), Quiet (Preston) and Surly (Craig). At one point there is an authorial intrusion of writer Lucy commenting her life is like the plot of a romance novel…
Chapters are told in alternating points of view from Henry and Lucy’s points of view. Lucy is suffering from some undisclosed condition that warrants the service dog, and Henry seems to be not only obsessive or ADHD, but may also have some crippling social anxieties. Lanza does utilize the music motif well, staging the plot in terms of a classical arrangement with movements, finale and encore.
I nearly gave up early in this novel when Henry was described as a cross between two actors I’ve never heard of. At the least, this is bad writing because it runs the risk of becoming dated AND limits the audience, but at worst, it’s just lazy. I gave up in chapter 17 when Graham defines Lucy as “normal” and Henry as “not normal” based on their behavior and neuroses. There has been so much work done to destigmatize mental illness and to reframe disability that these words have no place in contemporary narrative, and a competent editor would have noted this and redirected their author. At this point I recognized that Speechless was self-published and put it down for good.
I received a free advance reader’s review copy of #Speechless from #NetGalley.