One year ago, Callie was found in an abandoned apartment, scrawling words on the wall: “I KILLED HIM. His blood is on my hands. His heart is in my soul. I KILLED HIM.” But she remembers nothing of that night or of the previous thirty-six hours. All she knows is that her father, the reverend at the Church of the Holy Promise, is missing, as is Hannah, a young girl from the parish. Their disappearances have to be connected and Callie knows that her father was not a righteous man.
Since that fateful night, she’s been plagued by graphomania — an unending and debilitating compulsion to write. The words that flow from Callie’s mind and through her pen don’t seem to make sense — until now.
As the anniversary of Hannah’s vanishing approaches, more words and memories bubble to the surface and a new guy in school might be the key to Callie putting together the puzzle. But digging up the secrets she’s buried for so long might be her biggest mistake.
Oblivion is a beautiful yet disjointed story that sucks readers in from the get go. Much like Callie’s mind, pieces of the story are told in fragments and Callie struggles to live in the here and now while dealing with her debilitating graphomania—a compulsion few truly understand. But through all its disjointed glory, the reader begins to experience what Callie truly feels when unable to get her words out, and she struggles throughout the entire story to make sense of it all, focusing on her words and events from the past in order to understand what truly happened that fateful night a year ago. Slowly, the pieces come together, and as they do, readers will find themselves glued to the pages. Both frustrating and intriguing, I could not tear my eyes away, and in the end, the novel left me breathless.
Dawn’s debut is absolutely superb, and I adored her characterization. I felt that all the characters were extremely real, and though I’m sure others will disagree, being a teacher I see students from all walks of life, and though I’ve never had any with graphomania, I have had those in similar situations as Callie and her beau, and I think Dawn captures their realities quite vividly in this novel.
Truth be told, I never knew graphomania was a reality for some people, and it was intense watching Callie attempt to deal with her compulsions. As a teacher, I feel like I would have responded much as Callie’s teachers in the novel do, and that’s disheartening. While it is true that we don’t truly understand something until we experience it, I hope to now be able to say that, should I ever have a student who suffers from graphomania, I will show compassion.
This is a truly haunting story that I loved immensely, and I hope you will too. Five stars.
I received this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.