Emily W.’s Letter Essay #3: The Detour

Recently, I finished reading the novel The Detour, a 215 page realistic fiction novel by S.A Bodeen, published in 2015. The author S.A Bodeen has written a number of other thrilling novels such as The Raft, The Gardener, The Compound, and The Fallout. I was inspired to read this book after recently completing one of her more popular novels, The Compound. I thoroughly enjoyed The Compound, and was hoping The Detour was just as good. After reading and comparing both novels, I found myself actually liking The Detour better than The Compound. I believe I enjoyed this book so much because it included aspects from multiple different genres (realistic fiction & mystery). It seemed to be an interesting and less-creepy spin on Stephen King’s classic Misery. Even though I have never read Misery, from summaries and reviews that I have read, the plot seems almost to similar to be original.

The Detour is about a 17-year old best-selling novelist named Livvy Flynn. Livvy is extremely self-absorbed, but her immense amounts of money and fame help her get by in life. When she’s invited to an A-list writers conference, she decides to go so she can work on her next novel, and to enjoy all of the admiration (and jealousy) of the other writer wannabes. On her way there, she hits a detour. Suddenly she is kidnapped and trapped in a basement, with no clue where she could possibly be. A woman and her seemingly crazy daughter have captured her. And she has no idea why.

I liked how the author included many unsolved mysteries throughout the book. First, she started by introducing Livvy’s online boyfriend, Rory. She starts by leading you on to believe that he is perfectly normal, but then starts to drop hints about who Rory really is. She starts by saying how Livvy has only seen a picture of him, even though they skype regularly, because the camera lens on his computer is ¨scratched¨. Later in the story, Livvy’s parents question her on the details of Rory, such as where in Chicago he lives, if he has any siblings, and his parents names, none of which she knows. The most prominent unsolved mystery throughout the book would have to be the main and most ongoing question, why was Livvy kidnapped? Livvy is constantly asking herself this question, and doesn’t find out the answer until the very end of the book. This question is consistently being posed to the reader and is one that can be solved using prior knowledge provided by the author. Although it is an extremely difficult connection to make, due to very little clues given to you. Overall, I think that S.A Bodeen did a good job incorporating unsolved mysteries and ¨tough questions¨ into the book.

I think that the author did a good job developing Livvy’s character throughout the novel. She started out as what seemed like a spoiled, rich, entitled, brat, but grew into a more mature as the story went on. She seems to despise aspiring writers because so often throughout the book she hate on them. I think this is because her success came so early in her career that she thinks other people are just wasting time trying. For example, she said on the very first page, ¨… so all the wannabes who pay dearly for the privilege can suck up to us, fantasizing they will be us one day. Several of my weekends that summer had been spent communing with the unpublished-oh my bad, sorry!– the pre-published, the majority of whom are earnest, eager housewives well over thirty who firmly believe they are meant to be the next Stephanie Meyer.¨ This shows Livvy’s distastefulness for people with less success than her. The first two pages in the book are just Livvy bragging about her accomplishments, and talking about how aspiring authors are just fooling themselves. During the book, there are moments where Livvy thinks about her life before her novel, and as a reader, you start to understand her better. She talks about dealing with bullies and struggling with trichotillomania when she was a kid. You eventually begin to sympathise with her and your view of her transforms along with her general character.

Overall, I would have to give this book and eight out of ten. I would highly recommend it to everybody, but especially people who like mystery and realistic fiction books.

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7 thoughts on “Emily W.’s Letter Essay #3: The Detour

  1. Dear Emily,

    I really enjoyed reading your letter essay. I saw that you added a lot of good vocabulary to yours, such as “prominent” and “admiration”. This strengthened the points you were trying to make. One thing you could have improved upon was to work on your spelling and grammar. For example, “sympathise” and “but grew into a more mature as the story went on.” Other than that I really liked reading your letter essay.

    -Chloe Rozendaal

  2. Emily,
    I enjoyed reading the letter essay. I enjoyed the way that you explained the novel and it made me very intrigued. I also liked how you recommended the book to a specific audience and can not think of anything that you could improve upon. 🙂

  3. Emily,
    I thought you did a really amazing job on your letter essay. I really like how you added some of the “signposts” that you noticed into the essay. I also loved how you told us readers about the characters feelings. It not only makes us sympathize, but it makes the book more relate-able. This also helps to want to read a book, so I though that was really helpful. I’ve been interested in reading this book and by reading you essay, I learned a lot more about the book and am really eager to read it. I honestly do’t see anywhere you need to improve on. Keep up the good work and I can’t wait to read this book!

  4. Emily,
    I loved how you noticed a “signpost” in your book. Good job noticing that. I also loved how you included the some of the character’s thoughts and actions, for it made me sympathize for her Livvy. This was definitely relate-able to an helps readers to become interested in a book. I thought that that was very appropriate to add. Good job! I also liked how in the conclusion paragraph you told us who would like to read the book. That also helps readers to become hooked on a book. You made this book very appealing, especially since I have wanted to read this book. Detour is now definitely on the “books to read” list. Thank you so much for you essay, and keep up the good work.

  5. Emily,

    I really liked reading your letter essay, it was very well-written. I thought that you wrote the summary of your book very well, it seems like a great book, and you described the book in a lot of detail. I think you could have improved your introduction, you should add more details about S.A Bodeen. Overall I really enjoyed your essay.

    -Isabel Llach

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