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Bluff by Lenore Skomal
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Bluff (edition 2012)

by Lenore Skomal

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Member:celticlady53
Title:Bluff
Authors:Lenore Skomal
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Bluff by Lenore Skomal

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While I tend to read more fantasy and sci-fi than regular fiction, the premise of this book caught my attention. And it was a worthwhile read, if not remarkable. I found the ethical questions raised interesting, and I think I will look for other books in future which deal with similar topics. However, I didn't find this book terribly well-written, and I feel like it could have been much better than it was, or perhaps that it should have gone in other directions or something...it had the beginnings of deep thought and exploration, and there was certainly revelation for many characters, but the story itself seemed somewhat directionless at times... or something. Perhaps more of a jumping-off point for certain topics than a deep and truly intriguing consideration, but thankfully not one of those books which goes on much longer than it should; and I didn't find myself disappointed in it at least, which is possibly the worst feeling I can have about a book--more irking, really, than a clearly, simply "bad" book. So, I'd give this one a "meh," but I can't say I disliked it. ( )
  -sunny- | Jul 15, 2014 |
What happens when the breaking of the body is what heals the soul within?
The book is riddled with secrets and secret keepers. Some we find out about right away, some we find out only because Jude, the one person who never let anyone in on her own secrets before finally met her match, The Bluff… hears them from the trap of her own head. Some other’s know and others keep, it is a mess. At the center of this our author has put Jude into a vegetative state, basically a host for her unborn child. So broken, so messed up when alive, we have no clue how important she is and how fast things will unravel as well as heal in the end

Lost for so many years our protagonist, Jude finally wakes up, at least from her own walk-about through reality. Ready to deal with it all, the pregnancy the drugs, a plausible rape, an abusive childhood, bullying, her mothers suicide witnessed, her homosexuality and to all around everything a mystery. The problem? She wakes up in a vegetative state and cannot share all of her secrets she has kept from her best friend, her sister, the small town she lives in and finally to her own unborn child. Now what? She is awake enough to hear, and as her body dies, her child grows, others begin to die within, without and around…

Before Jude falls from the bluff where she lives through miraculously, alive with her unborn child still healthy while her body broken beyond help. She is stuck in a medical limbo and becomes a magnet to the lost souls in the vicinity. Skomal has created a world of symbolism and metaphor as well as a story to immerse yourself slowly in. Will she wake up to tell and help with everyone’s secrets? Will the birth of her child uncover another? What about those secrets which need revealing in order to save that of another innocent? Will she finally be able to help, even if it is just being there to “listen”?

Each of our characters seem to have a little tiny wisp of who she is and what she is about. She is like a center of a web, a web in a small town, a strand of which is the controversy of the Roman Catholic‘s take on pulling the plug, or the strand of the small town, a reflection on many throughout America, and homosexual women. How all and everything compounds these issues. Infidelity, drug abuse, suicide, shall I go on? Oh no, how about abortion… yep I said it, and one thing this book never brings up? Is abortion or adoption which for some reason bugs me the most.

There is a lot going on and I am glad I did not slam through it. It is not one to jaunt through over the weekend, as the author has stated, she wants us to “eat” her books, and I nibbled, ate, put it in Tupperware… zapped it a bit to heat it up and finally finished it with a dollop of whip cream on top.

This is a book about the struggle of one woman with a broken soul, a woman with more secrets than the church in question and the only people who learn the most about Jude are us, the reader! It makes you wonder “what…?” on so many levels. What would need to break in order for our own damage to be healed finally? I recommend this to anyone who is not afraid to face that question and to those who already have. ( )
  AKMamma | Nov 25, 2013 |
Review coming soon. ( )
  ABShepherd | May 15, 2013 |
I received a copy of this book from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

I’m rather at a loss for words to accurately review this book: for I’m not entirely certain I’ve discovered all of the ways it makes an impact. It is a roller coaster ride from one peak in the revelations to the next, climaxing with the impact of that last big climb – slowly up until it crests and drops the bottom out from under you.

Each of the characters encountered are involved, directly or indirectly with Jude and what seemed to be a sucking vortex of secrets, deceptions and resentments. Add in the rather inflexible edicts from the Pope and the Bishop, contrasted with bioethical issues surrounding the sustenance of life without considering the quality of that life and that is just a taste of what this book brings to the reader.

Not by any stretch of the imagination is this book an easy read: but it isn’t meant to be. Challenging your thoughts on life support, living wills, suicide, secrets, Papal omniscience, and even application of edict and canonical law to the very real situations that people encounter; this story has so many facets to focus on, to provide new insight that it’s a never ending series of important revelations and perspectives that deal with the horrifyingly possible potential that you too, shall need to deal with an ‘end of life’ decision for a loved one.

Of course, the author has managed to wrap all of the issues into a well-written, tightly characterized and deeply moving story. One that keeps you thinking long after you have put it down and wanting to go back and re-read sections as your opinion on everything starts to change and wander. The main character is named for St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes: although each character has their own ‘lost cause’ they are fighting against, some more successfully but no less traumatic than others.

If you want a book that doesn’t challenge, ends with a “happy ever after”, that you will put down and not feel it calling for you to finish it – this is not the book for you. Skillful writing combined with a plot guaranteed to make you think, remember and even question: you must have this book.
  IamIndeed | Mar 29, 2013 |
Jude Black is in hospital with severe injuries having been found on the beach after a fall – or a push? – from the bluff near her home. As the doctors try to save her life, it becomes apparent that they are striving to save two lives, not one. Jude is pregnant and the identity of the father is as much of a mystery as many things in Jude’s life. As Jude lies in her comatose state, aware of all around her, she begins to sort through some of the things in her life, in an almost subconscious effort to reach some kind of peace. As Jude moves closer to this, the turmoil in everyone else’s lives becomes achingly apparent.

Bluff is very much a ‘things are never quite as they seem’ novel, with a lot more below the surface than is originally suggested. Characters who seem perfectly together, warm, friendly, kind, confident or focused have major flaws revealed over the course of the novel. Though Jude begins as the messed up disaster of the community, it becomes clear during the book that there are those with much darker secrets.

Like many novels with a ‘difficult’ main character, I found Bluff to be very thought-provoking. Jude is flawed – the memories and flashbacks suggest she can be miserable and anti-social – but she does display real vulnerability and tenderness at times.

The novel raises some big issues (some of which I can’t reveal without giving key plot points away), including organ donation, the church and drug abuse. I felt these complex areas were dealt with sensitively and in a thought-provoking manner.

Bluff was a very enjoyable read that kept me hooked. Touching, poignant and very sad at times, I found it well written and interesting.

**Review originally published on Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave. I received a copy of the book in exchange for my fair and honest review. I did not receive any additional compensation and all views are my own.** ( )
  donnambr | Jan 12, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 147819247X, Paperback)

"To the medical world, I was a host body, surviving only to bring a new life into the world. And while I wanted to die more than anything in the world, I never wanted this. No, I never wanted to cease to exist. This was the worst death of all.” Jude Black lives in that in-between, twilight place teetering on death but clinging to life in order to bring her baby into this world. Only she knows the circumstances surrounding her mysterious fall off the bluff that landed her in the hospital being kept alive by medical intervention. Only she knows who the father of her baby is. In this poignantly crafted literary novel, the mystery unfolds and the suspense builds as the consequences of Jude’s decisions threaten to reveal everyone's deceptions, even her own. Bluff offers a sensitive look at essential questions such as the value of human life, the consciousness of those in a coma and the morality of terminating life support. At the core is the story of a tragically misunderstood woman who finds peace, acceptance, understanding and even love on her deathbed.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:13 -0400)

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