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Diary of a Witness: Review

Synopsis: One day, something’s going to snap. . . .
Ernie doesn't have a lot of friends at school. Just Will. They have stuff in common—like fishing. But more important, they have common enemies: the school jocks, who seem to find bullying just another sport.

For the most part, Ernie and Will take life at high school in stride. Until Will has one very bad day. Now nothing is remotely funny. Ernie finds himself a witness—to loss, to humiliation, and to Will’s anger—an anger that’s building each and every moment.

Ernie doesn’t want to believe his best friend is changing, but he can’t deny the truth. Soon he has a choice: join or die. Or can he find another way? 

Details: "Diary of a Witness" by Catherine Ryan Hyde, 208 pages, an average of 5 stars on Amazon

My Thoughts: I was really disappointed with this book. Before I started reading, I heard great things about it - about what a touching story it was, what a tearjerker, that sort of thing - so I was excited to get to it. And even though I didn't like this book that much, I do have to say that the story itself was interesting.

I liked that Ernie was sort of a "sideline" character, because it was really his best friend Will who was going through most of the crap. Ernie had trouble too with the bullies (in one scene they even stuck a fishing hook in his scalp, which sounds extremely painful), but at least he didn't have much trouble at home. It was horrific how even though everyone knew that Will's little brother died recently and that his father was in jail because of it, the bullies kept screwing with him and hurting him. Will completely deteriorated until that final scene. I won't give it away, but I do have to say it was pretty obvious (for me, at least) that it was coming.

The book was also well-written. It was easy to read and at times, I had trouble putting it down. I think the only reason I was disappointed by this book wasn't the story or the characters or the writing, but just the fact that I feel the author could have done so much more. The book wasn't particularly wrenching (although sad in places) and that final scene could have been so much more powerful. I also feel like Ernie would have been just a little more real if he really had second thoughts before stopping Will, rather than going straight ahead without a split second of self-doubt. I've never liked straight-out heroes.

Diary of a Witness is worth a read, but I do think it could have been more compelling. Two smilies out of five.


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