Monday, February 29, 2016

The History Major by Michael Phillip Cash



- Carrie Anne

After a vicious fight with her boyfriend followed by a night of heavy partying, college freshman Amanda Greene wakes up in her dorm room to find things are not the same as they were yesterday.  She can't quite put her finger on it.  She's sharing her room with a peculiar stranger.  Amanda discovers she's registered for classes she would never choose with people that are oddly familiar.  An ominous shadow is stalking her.  Uncomfortable memories are bubbling dangerously close to her fracturing world, propelling her to an inevitable collision between fantasy and reality.  Is this the mother of all hangovers or is something bigger happening?  (taken from Amazon description)

This book started off great.  We're just as intrigued as Amanda is, wondering what has happened to her.  She only remembers part of the fight with her boyfriend; did something happen after that?  Where is her boyfriend now?  Where's her regular roommate?  And why on earth is she registered for History 101?

Amanda decides she'd better attend class, whether she wants to or not.  From there, things only get stranger.  Is that Aristotle teaching the class?  Why is the dark shadow following her?  Most importantly, why can't she leave?

Unfortunately, at that point, I wanted to leave, too.  We all know the quote "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it,"  and that's the key point of the novel.  Aristotle tells the stories of Joan of Arc and Lucrezia Borgia and we know Amanda needs to learn from them.  Amanda has trouble understanding why, though, and I did, too.  Eventually, memories fall into place and things begin to make sense to her, but I still felt a little lost.  The surreal nature of her day, mixed with the flashbacks of Joan and Lucrezia, mixed with a touch of the supernatural, all left me feeling unsettled and anxious to reach the end, in the hope everything would finally make sense to me, too.  It did, in a way, but mostly through the use of the author's note at the end.

All in all, I love Cash's books, but this one just didn't do much for me.  I typically read to be entertained, and if the book warrants an explanation, that means reading the book was more like work.

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