Many people think that reading the end of a novel first will ruin the enjoyment. This is because they have not yet read Slate & Me and Blanch McBride by Georgia Savage, who has made this boring and out-of-order book into an interesting, meaningful and enjoyable novel. The book is written in three parts, ‘After’, ‘Before’, and ‘And Later’. Written in this order had some major influences on my response to the novel.
At first it was frustrating, confusing, unmeaning, and continuation of the word ‘What?’ going through my head, but as I read through the rest of the book, it started to make more sense and I was able fill in the gaps that was in the earlier chapters of the book. Most novel expositions slowly draw us into the setting and character of a novel. Part One, the ‘After’ part of Slate & Me and Blanch McBride, however, starts with a one page italicised section, which illustrates to us the scene of the bank robbery.
This page tells us that the main character in this book is a very brave person because when Del’s old man said “Get the gun, Del” he actually stopped and made sure Del had picked up the gun because most people would just run away as fast as they could. Then the situation suddenly changes to Wyn on a train and trying to escape from the police. This got me confused because at the start I was wondering what the train had to do with the robbery. Then I realised that this was well after the robbery and some how the police had captured him.
Here, at this point, it made me want to know how and why the police and what he had done before the police captured him. This is the same as when you read a chronological novel and you will want to guess or want to know the end, but here you will want to know the start because you already known the end. I started to sense that Wyn is a criminal “He turned, tensed himself and kicked the gun out of the nervous [cop’s] hand, turned again, took one step across the room and dived through the window”, when he tried to escape.
I found out that he had a very close relationship with his brother, Slate, he had pictures of him in the train and he was “dreaming now and then of his brother”. Also it was discovered pretty early in the book that Slate already died, this had made me very desperate to know how he died and why the author mentioned it so early in the novel. Part Two, the ‘Before’ part, builds up the characters and more importantly fill in from the first part. It gave the story more sense and excitement.
In this part there is point-of-view changes (changes in narrators), which sometimes repeat events and helps in telling the story in more detail and also lets me/the reader know what every character is feeling in that situation in the story. The jumps straight back to right after the italicised part at the very beginning of the novel where the Jackson boys were at the bank robbery. Wyn, revealed in this part, is very alike to Slate and he always wanted to be like Slate. It was in this part that one of my mysteries was solved, I finally found out about Blanche.
It shocked me to found out how cruel the Jackson boys were after they found out that Blanche saw them killing Wilkinson and then kidnapping her and taking her to freedom. Another relationship is developed in this part and a love triangle was the result. Both Wyn and Slate started liking Blanche, but even though she always thought they were only one of them, she still liked Slate more and jealousy grew in Wyn, which made him wanting to kill Blanche more than he did at the beginning. Finally, Part Three, the ‘And Later’ part, made a leap in time.
It was at the point where everything started to get in place and the gaps filled. This is another one of the jump that occurred at first with the italicised page, from Blanche being rescued, Wyn captured to Wyn returning to Mowbray on his way to Maryston Valley to see Blanche McBride and Alison Renshaw. Before Wyn went to Maryston he finds out that Morgan Chou is dead. When he first hears it, the first thought that came to his mind was ‘Renshaw’; this shows that his attitude toward Renshaw is very bad because of what Renshaw did to his brother.
When he was at Maryston, although his brother had died, he still had things that reminded him of his brother, which shows the connection between him and Slate is very strong. The love triangle was still present and when Wyn went and saw Blanche she still thought he was Slate. This shows that she still likes him. Here I find out that Renshaw had hired a guy to keep an eye on Blanche. It is here where I realise that Renshaw is like a ‘father’ to Blanche. With the way the book was written I thought that Wyn would just escape and just keep going with his life but instead he was shot dead.
Slate ; Me and Blanche McBride was an enjoyable read. The storyline was reasonable but when it is not in chronological order, it turned out to be a suspenseful, exciting, and adventurous story. As a result of it being in non chronological order there were a lot of jumps and gaps during the read, these were great because it got me thinking to what would happen next or how will it resolve. I hope in future I could find another one of the books written in non-chronological order so I could compare the both and see what techniques were used to make it into such an interesting story.