Iodine by Haven Kimmel – A Book Review

This book, appropriately enough, really has me split down the middle.

One hand, I hated it.  It encompassed all of the hipster “too-cool-for-everyone” characteristics in the protagonist, Trace, that drive me bonkers.  All those songs and musicians that everyone who “dares” to be different listens to?  Yep, there in here.  The “I so don’t care about style everyone wants to copy mine” wardrobe?  Yep, that’s here, too.  The “I’m smarter than everyone in the room” attitude?  Got it.  In that regard, Trace reminded me of several characters that literally made me want to bang my head against the wall. 

However, other aspects of the book legitimately won my adoration.  Heavily immersed in Greek mythology, literary criticism, as well as Freud and Jung’s dream analyses, Kimmel presented well-researched and implemented information that played a vital and enjoyable role in the story.  In fact, I so enjoyed her plot points concerning Jung and Freud, I checked out several of their books at my local library concerning dream analysis and archetypes. 

Furthermore, Kimmel really is a good writer.  Her characters are well rounded, she has a smooth writing style, and she’s quite adept with figurative language.  Seemingly pointless details later play significant aspects in the novel that point to Kimmel’s careful attention to detail and forethought.

I personally also enjoyed Iodine because it struck me as a thinking person’s novel.  Consequently, I’m not sure how much the casual reader would appreciate that.  Yes, at times it was a tad heavy-handed and haughty, but, as a one-time English major, I really dug all the allusions and unexpected twists.

In the end, Iodine has a little bit of bad and quite a bit of good, but, unless you get a kick out of looking up psychoanalytical terms and Greek mythological figures, this may not be the book for you.

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