Book Review: What We Buried by Kate A. Boorman

You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of words; a journey into a literary land whose boundaries are that of well-developed characters and an eerie story line.

As a big fan of The Twilight Zone, I thoroughly enjoyed the mystic adventure What We Buriedtook me on. The book follows the lives of siblings Jory and Liv who’ve always resented one another but share a common hatred for their parents. When their parents mysteriously vanish, they must put aside their differences to find out what happened. The rest of the book feels as if readers have entered an alternate reality and aren’t allowed to return to the dimension they know of until the end.

Liv is a former pageant queen and reality TV star who is suing her parents for emancipation. She’s obsessed with how she appears to her friends and is hell-bent on making her parents pay for how they treated her when she was younger. I wanted to dislike Liv’s character. I actually did in the beginning. I really couldn’t stand her prima-donna attitude, but as the story unfolded, and I learnt how messed up certain events in her childhood were, I began to sympathize with her. I’ve always thought pageants were shallow and that the majority of mothers who forced their kids to perform in shows like that were living vicariously through them. Liv’s story didn’t change my stance.

Even after finishing the book, I couldn’t decide on whether I liked Jory’s character. He’s portrayed as the lone wolf whose partial facial paralysis causes people to feel uncomfortable in his presence. Outside of his hatred for his parents and his sister, there’s little to be said. It’s only when the siblings are chasing down their parents on an unexpected road trip that Jory’s character starts to become interesting.

As unexplainable events and repressed memories surface, the siblings start to question their sanity. Did Liv really see a girl scaling the rocks that they just drove past? Is Jory seeing things that aren’t really there? The search for their parents causes the siblings to dissect everything they know about themselves and their parents.

My only dislike with What We Buried was the sections where Jory and Liv did nothing else but bicker, which I found exhausting to read. I didn’t enjoy reading chapters about why Jory thinks Liv is a prima-donna and why Liv was jealous of Jory.

Besides the quarreling, I enjoyed the peculiar events that the siblings encounter on the way to their parents. While the book was slow at some points, coming down to the end, I was eager to figure out the mystery behind the strangeness and how the siblings played a part in it.

I’m glad the signpost up ahead did not say “Disappointment.”



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