Alligator by Lisa Moore is a literary masterpiece. I bought this book at the downtown Powells in Portland about 15 years ago when my daughter was going to college there. I guess it stayed on one of my, oh so many shelves, for a while, mostly because I like to focus on the books people send me to review. But there is an exception to most rules, so I gave this novel a go and I am glad I did for it is a vibrant look into several people’s lives who twist together.
Alligator by Lisa Moore
Stars: 4.5 Stars
Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths
Although the story covers the arc of many lives, I found the journey of Frank the most intense. Frank has never had a fair life. His mother dying when he was five left him an orphan. After a hard as steel childhood, he somehow finds the strength to work three jobs so he can afford a hot dog cart. Life is going better, but he is still angry, quiet, and alone.
He meets Colleen and wants to ask her out but has a hard time working up the courage. Things get tense when a dangerous Russian moves in above him. The Russian is a sociopath and cannot see anything he does not seek to ruin and Frank falls into Valitin’s circle of awareness.
Soon just working hard will not be enough to save Frank and series of betrayals could soon cost him everything including his life.
This novel looks deeply into the life and motivations of the characters. The author touches on issues and feelings we usually refuse to admit to ourselves. This is perhaps more of a literary novel and less action oriented, but it remains an exciting insightful read.
I enjoyed exploring all the characters but sometimes the reader was sent down a side story when I might have liked to get back to the other characters faster. Also, this author can write circles around me but still did one of my pet peeves and that was changing the POV without warning. She also changed the time, but in an arty way, like doing things such as recent experience, one paragraph, something from two years ago next paragraph. I did not have a problem with this, but it could annoy some.
A great book, but again more introspective than action oriented, but I think most of the people reading this review will be impressed by this novel.