Title: Asher’s Fault
Author: Elizabeth Wheeler
Summary: The day fourteen-year-old Asher receives a Minolta camera from his aunt Sharon, he buys the last roll of black-and-white film and takes his first photograph—a picture of a twisted pine tree. He’s so preoccupied with his new hobby he fails to notice his dad’s plan to move out, his increasing alienation from his testosterone-ridden best friend, Levi, and his own budding sexuality. When his little brother drowns at the same moment Asher experiences his first same-sex kiss, he can no longer hide behind the lens of his camera. Asher thinks it’s his fault, but after his brother dies, his father resurfaces along with clues challenging Asher’s black-and-white view of the world. The truth is as twisted as the pine tree in his first photograph.
I’m trying to find a way to begin this review as I’m not a fan of repeating the whole summary when it’s already out here. This novel was good. I enjoyed the most of it and I could relate with Asher in many ways. He was a likable characters, at least for me. Some would say he was a bit emotionless, a bit arrogant, and selfish. To me, he came as a strong, brave character who tried to deal with things happening around him as best as he could. When he gets a camera from his aunt, he starts to see the world through the lens of it, making him a bit delusional, trapped in his own world. He’s pulled back into a reality when his dad leaves and when his mum starts to avoid his father as best as she can. She blames it all on him, saying that he leaved them all, and Asher’s struggle with his mum is one of the strongest elements in this book. He doesn’t think it’s right what she’s doing, but he’s not saying anything which can lead to greater things in a future. Then there is Travis who is bugging both of them, especially his mum, who then leaves him for all or nothing to Asher.
At the same time, Asher meets Garrett where his own sexuality comes in question. However, I found this part a bit wary. It’s not that I couldn’t feel him struggling because there was jealousy involved and there were questions in his head he didn’t know the answer to, but I feel as though his sexuality could’ve been more explored. Although, I could also see author’s point and how maybe she didn’t want it to be in the first plan. His struggling to fight his growing feelings was definitely interesting to read though.
Things start going more downhill when his brother, Travis, drowns. Now, this part is one of those I can completely understand – Asher being the way he was. The way when it seemed like he cared more about other things than his own brother’s death, or the way he kept capturing the moments with his camera even after that. Shock and disbelief is most likely to cause that. However, as any other human being, he broke a few times, even though he tried to keep it together at least for his mum who seemed to be falling apart. I admire that. With all things happening around him and inside of him, he kept that “emotionless” facade. Of course, there were always cracks where you could see through it and sometimes I wished I could make things easier for him.
Finally, we come to religion in this book which is probably the part that irked me the most. I am born Christian and I was raised to believe that God exists. Although, my own beliefs and my own thoughts don’t have or have very little connection with Christianity. Asher was Methodist, as it was mentioned few times through the book, but there are a lot of things similar to Christianity and as I’m never participating in my faith, I could not relate. Let me explain something, I accept everyone. I have nothing against religion. I just don’t read a lot of books who have it as one of the main parts in the novel. I wasn’t exactly bothered by it, I just couldn’t relate at all so I guess that was a bit of a problem for me. But, it was helping them, helping Asher, and I was glad to see he had something he believed in.
All things considered, this was really good novel. Not one of my favourites and I think there were parts that could’ve been done better, but I enjoyed it regardless and I’m glad I’ve gotten a change to read it!