Contemporary, Drama

The Shoe on the Roof by Will Ferguson

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Having done a major in psychology, I’m always interested in social psych and child development. The premise of this novel involves both; the main character underwent experimentation as a child and now, as an adult, he plans on conducting a social experiment. This was enough to make me curious and so, I happily accepted this ARC. Here is my review:

When his girlfriend ended their relationship, Thomas Rosanoff’s life went downhill. A gifted med school student, he has spent his entire life trying to escape his father’s legacy. His father, an esteemed psychiatrist used Tommy as a test subject; Thomas lived his entire young life in a box, watched by researchers behind 2-way glass. But now, Thomas is the researcher, and his subjects are 3 homeless men who all claim to be Jesus. But no 3 people can be the messiah. Thomas is determined to “cure” the 3 men of their delusions and thus, save his career – and potentially his love life. But when Thomas’s father steps in, events spin out of control, and Thomas is forced to confront the craziness of his own mind.

I really wanted to like this book, and there were times when I did enjoy the story. But overall, this one just didn’t do it for me. The premise was definitely intriguing and I really liked the way the author introduced Thomas as this cocky, confident, and slightly eccentric student. It was fun to read about his escapades and his conquests. Did I think the plan to get his girlfriend back was crazy? Absolutely! But I was willing to go through with reading about it. I liked the 3 homeless men and the way they made Thomas reevaluate his notions about the world. In fact, they made ME reevaluate my own beliefs. When Thomas’s father stepped into the picture, the story went towards the dark side. I didn’t actually mind this transition as it created this really awesome downward spiral. All of the above aspects I mentioned are positive. However, there were quite a few things I didn’t like. There were quite a few parts in the story that dragged the pace and I found it really hard to push myself past these points; I wanted to get to the good stuff and these parts just seemed like fillers. There was a random murder aspect thrown into the story that really didn’t add anything; instead of heightening my reading experience, it served to dampen it. I also thought that Thomas’s childhood could have had more focus than it did in the novel; I would be really eager for a glimpse into it and then I would only get a tidbit and feel disappointed. While the plot and character development was intriguing, the pacing was slow, there were too many fillers, and some plot aspects really should have been omitted. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 2.5/5 stars.

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