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Review: Finny by Justin Kramon

Review: Finny by Justin Kramon post image

Title: Finny: A Novel
Author: Justin Kramon
Genre/Format: Fiction
Year: 2010
Acquired: From the author for review
Rating: ★★★★☆

One Sentence Summary: At 14-years-old, Finny Short runs away, and the boy she meets while on the lam changes her life for the better.

One Sentence Review: Finny was the perfect light but impactful read that I wanted while on vacation at the lake.

Why I Read It: I met the author at BEA, and he gave a great pitch for his book that made me want to read it.

Long Review: Finny is the story of Delphine Short – who decides at a young age to go by the name “Finny” because “she’d always had an independent mind about things like names.” At 14, Finny decides she’s had enough of her family and runs away. On her flee, she meets her teenage neighbor Earl Henckel, and the two immediately hit it off.

All that happens within the first chapter. The rest of the book is the story of Finny growing up – off to boarding school, then college, then a first job and close friends, and on and on. The constant among the pieces is Finny’s on-again off-again relationship with Earl and her quest to figure out who she is and what she wants.

I read Finny back during my 4th of July vacation – yes, I’m way behind in reviews – and really loved it. The book was the sort of light but deep reading that I wanted on a vacation. Finny is a great main character – full of flaws and mistakes, but a good person that you want good things for. The story is compelling without making you think too much, but it’s one that stayed with me when I set the book down. I can see re-reading this book.

In addition to Finny, the book is full of other quirky but not crazy or outrageous characters that are easy to like and dislike. Many of them evolve along with Finny, and help explore the idea of friendships – how people can evolve and change and make choices, but that friendship sometimes transcends those changes.

I’m a big sucker for structure, so I loved parts of the way this book was put together. The book is divided into three sections – “Growing Up,” ‘Reunions and New Friends,” and “From Here on Out” – and each section focuses on a transformative part of Finny’s life. The book covers a bit span of time, but really only focuses on the moments that matter, using “interludes” to show that a story happens in parts, but that we don’t necessarily need all the moments in between. I thought that was cool.

Although I’ve seen it billed as a love story – Finny’s relationship with Earl is sort of central to the plot – I think Finny is more of a story about growing up. But it’s about the fact that growing up is a process that ever really ends. Even at 34, Finny is still learning and growing – she’s a woman with a real life who makes mistakes and is ok about it. I love that about this book.

Other Reviews: Bermudaonion’s Weblog | Booking Mama | The Book Lady’s Blog | Book Addiction | The Bluestocking Society | Capricious Reader |

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jenny August 26, 2010, 9:28 am

    I didn’t realize this book covered such a long span of time. I thought it was set in a boarding school and they were teenagers and that was the whole book. Hm. Sounds more interesting to me now.

    • Kim August 26, 2010, 7:01 pm

      Jenny: A big chunk of the book does happen in the boarding school, but definitely not all of it. Many of the people Finny meets while in school come back as friends later, but you get to see them interact as grown-ups which I liked.

  • Care August 26, 2010, 9:59 am

    BEAUTIFUL review! I almost stated it was a love story in my review, but decided it was so much more. In fact, I really don’t say much about it other than I liked it a lot.

    • Kim August 26, 2010, 7:02 pm

      Care: Thanks! I don’t think I said much more than that either, but I hope that’s ok 🙂

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) August 26, 2010, 10:14 am

    Your review is fantastic! I think the quirky characters are part of why I loved this book. Thanks for linking to my review.

    • Kim August 26, 2010, 7:03 pm

      Kathy: I think the other characters are a huge part of the book — they help contrast Finny, and keep things interesting. I felt like almost everyone was a pretty full and well-drawn character.

  • Justin Kramon August 26, 2010, 10:20 am

    Kim, thank you so much for this review! I really appreciate what you said about the book in general, and also about the structure, and the fact that it was both a fun read and a book that stuck with you. That’s what I really hoped for the book — to write the kind of book that I’d want to take on vacation with me.

    Jenny, thanks for your note also. One of the hard things about book summaries is that there’s only room to catch a small part of the story (usually the set-up), so I’m really thankful for reviews like Kim’s that give readers a feel for all the ground the book covers. If you end up reading it, I’ll be curious to hear what you think!

    Care, great to see you again! What you said about the book being a love story but also much more really meant a lot to me.

    Thanks to you all!

    • Kim August 26, 2010, 7:03 pm

      Justin: Thanks for stopping by to comment!

  • Trisha August 26, 2010, 2:00 pm

    I wish I had picked this one up; although in my defense, I missed it completely.

    • Kim August 26, 2010, 7:04 pm

      Trisha: I just met Justin at the reception on Thursday night, I’m not sure if they were handing the book out elsewhere or not. But he did a really nice job sharing about the book without being pushy about it, and I’m really glad I got to read it.

  • Ash August 26, 2010, 7:10 pm

    I agree with your last comment. I didn’t really see this as a love story either, even though it’s a big part of the story. It was a lot more about Finny just growing up, and Earl is absent for long periods of time where she is changing.

    • Kim August 30, 2010, 6:48 pm

      Ash: I think what made me convinced it wasn’t a love story is that by the end I wasn’t that concerned with whether Finny and Earl ended up together. I was a lot more focused on Finny herself and whether she’d be at a point where she was turning into the person she wanted to be.

  • Lisa August 29, 2010, 11:40 am

    I love that structure! Realistically there’s no way to cover a full life without making the book six or seven hundred pages long. I just started this book and it hooked me from page one!

    • Kim August 30, 2010, 6:49 pm

      Lisa: I just found the interlude section charming — I was so pleasantly surprised when I came to the first one that I knew I wanted to mention it in my review.