Kat Morrisey, Through the Rain (Kat Morrisey, 2011)

It's pretty common to see authors who really get the craft or writing but have never quite figured out the art. (Your favorite goat had that criticism levelled at him more than once, actually, and I'm not going to deny it.) They write books that are technically perfect, or as technically perfect as a book in American society, with shoddy proofreading even at the highest commercial levels, can be, but that are simply awful, derivative genre crap that shows no evidence that its author gave thought to much of anything, really. Much more rare are those authors who have nailed the art, but are to some degree or other bereft in craft (one normally does not figure out the art of the thing without having done enough reading, and presumably, spelling and grammar will rub off.); Rimbaud, apocryphally, is the patron saint of such folk. One of them would seem to be Kat Morrisey, who has written what feels more like a self-help memoir than anything else (because of her choice of first-person combined with the intimate nature of the subject matter) but has managed to do so in a way that makes its main character both interesting and compelling. I admit that I'm somewhat astounded by this given how little attention is paid to the development of any other character here (the male lead gets a few sentences, everyone else is kind of a ghost in the distance) and how often the author fumbles the ball with word choice (substituting “asked” for “offered” made me stop and stare for a moment) and grammatical awkwardness (“My relationship with my parents had clearly gotten better, again the whole compartmentalizing thing was coming in very handy.”). This is a story that needs a bathing in some serious cleansing fire. Workshopping it in a high-quality writers' group, with a handful of authors who have been publishers in either university presses or the majors, would do this manuscript a world of good, and it might do the same for its author. What is here is a diamond in the rough; there's something well worth looking at, but the author should have chipped away at some of the rougher edges to let more of its natural sparkle shine through. ** ½