Book Review of Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner”
by Vanditha Krishnan
Gosh, where do I begin? Well, the cover is amazing! Phantom Limbs is newly acclaimed author Paula Garner’s debut novel, but it certainly did not appear to be so. This novel was beautiful and gut-wrenching; Garner does a great job of building relationships between the characters. The story was woven together like cloth, and I am so glad that I read this book!
Plot: Otis is a swimmer, grieving the death of his young brother, Mason. He is wise beyond his years, and deeply cares for his family and closest friends. Meg was Otis’s best friend, until she suddenly moved away after Mason’s death, leaving Otis and his mother heartbroken and lonely. But when Otis learns that Meg is coming back for the summer, all he wants is to become friends again (a little more than that would be nice :D). Soon enough, her arrival back home brings back traumatic memories, especially of Mason. Otis must learn about some uneasy truths about Mason’s abrupt death, but he must also learn to live in the present, and not to let his thoughts from the past drown him.
Characters: These characters were developed in such a lifelike way, that I almost believed that this story was real.
Otis was such an amazing main character; he was considerate, and was Dara’s ‘rock’ during hard times. I admired his ability to move on, even during difficult situations like this.
Meg was definitely a dynamic character. She seemed to be a bit distant after reuniting with the Muellers’, but eventually, her traumatic memories led to her stabilizing her relationship with the family.
Dara, oh Dara. Like her name suggests, Dara is a daredevil. Left with one hand and a stump in the other, she lives with her silent, brooding, authoritarian father. Dara’s mother committed suicide when Dara was born, so difficulty is etched in her life. I loved the way Dara pushed Otis to accomplish his dreams, even though she couldn’t do the same. Her nobility was a quality I admired.
Thoughts: I’ve said it already, but I’ll say it again. BREATHTAKING. The prose was remarkable, enhancing the novel like rare pearls of the sea. Debut author Paula Garner stunningly portrayed truth, life, and love in this poignant novel. I look forward to reading more of her books. Simply beautiful.