There are very few books that I want to read again immediately after turning the last page. That’s exactly how I felt after I finished reading The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma. I was hooked from the opening paragraph. My friends even warned me the novel would be a wild ride.
I usually write my own synopsis for each book I review but I doubt I can do it justice, so here’s what the book blurb tells us:
From as early as he can remember, the hopelessly unreliable—yet hopelessly earnest—narrator of this ambitious debut novel has wanted to become a writer.
From the jazz clubs of Manhattan to the villages of Sri Lanka, Kristopher Jansma’s irresistible narrator will be inspired and haunted by the success of his greatest friend and rival in writing, the eccentric and brilliantly talented Julian McGann, and endlessly enamored with Julian’s enchanting friend, Evelyn, the green-eyed girl who got away. After the trio has a disastrous falling out, desperate to tell the truth in his writing and to figure out who he really is, Jansma’s narrator finds himself caught in a never-ending web of lies.
Right away, we learn that our narrator will be unreliable; we cannot trust everything he tells us. Still I cannot resist the way he tells the truth, but “with slant,” as he is taught in his college writing class. Personally, I’m not a fan of unreliable narrators in my books, but I felt challenged after reading the Author’s Note. It’s as if he dares us to call him a liar. Dares the reader to find the discrepancies throughout his pages over which he’s toiled.
So I read each chapter, knowing full well it is full of half truths, yet I’m sure I can decipher the truths. Each chapter throws me in a new setting of new slants and disarms me with this new and semi-improved version of the narrator. As soon as I settle into the chapter, I realize, Hey, this character has a new name, new history but the same heartache as the previous chapter. . . I want to read it again, slowlier this time so I can connect the dots. I’m not sure if it’s even possible, but I’m sure going to enjoy trying.
I’m sorry for such a vague review, but I don’t want to give anything away. You have to discover it yourself.
The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma will take you on a wild ride and leave you begging to jump back on for more.
Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a copy of Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli. It ends May 15.
I received a review copy of the novel. This post contains affiliate links.