five finger fiction book coverReviewed by Jessa Larsen

Lila O’Farrell is merely one small voice in the collective choir that makes up her large Irish Catholic family. Her mother is the tyrannical monarch, her father the quiet peeping tom, her sister the mute sheep merely following the herd. And that’s only her immediate family. Lila’s extended family makes up half the town she lives in and nothing she does can escape the all-seeing eye that is her mother. Well, almost nothing. Rather than turning to things like sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll, Lila has become a full fledged kleptomaniac. The objects don’t need to be of particular value, just easily slipped into a purse, bag, or pocket.

Lila’s story takes her from the 6th grade of a private Catholic school, to a public high school with cousins around every corner and an aunt as the principal, to a college where the only connection to home is an old classmate from Catholic school. We watch as Lila discovers herself and slowly escapes from her mother’s controlling claws. However, when times get tough, Lila’s tendency to sneak small items resurfaces. Instead of helping, her college roommates encourage her by giving her a list of items graded by difficultly. The only hope of help may turn out to come from the most unlikely person of them all.

Brooks Sigler writes Five Finger Fiction as a combination of flashbacks and regular narrative. The story begins in 6th grade and progresses to adulthood where Lila is engaged and ready to get married. Every couple of chapters, we are brought back to the present where engaged Lila tries to deal with her mother while fighting her kleptomaniac tendencies. It is very interesting to follow the narration of her life and slowly come to the realization of exactly who the fiancé is and why he is significant to Lila’s life story.

My main complaint with Five Finger Fiction is the lack of depth given to the sub-characters. It would have been nice to get a little more insight on various members of the immediate family. I would’ve also liked to see a little more climactic action and more oomph in the few climaxes that were there. I still enjoyed Five Finger Fiction and was eager to see how Lila would deal with the hardships that came her way. It is a short book, but a good read despite its few shortcomings.

Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, two sons, two cats, and two dogs. She goes to school full time as an English major with a focus in creative writing. She likes anime and reads books and plays video games in her spare time.

This book was provided free of any obligation by Publishing Works, Inc. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.