Vinnie’s Diner, by Jennifer Allee

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

When a freak accident leaves Allie stranded in the desert, she needs help. But little does she know, accepting help means embarking on a harrowing journey of self-discovery . . . and making the ultimate decision between life and death. Something big and black crashes against the windshield, and an explosion rocks the car. Turn into the skid!

I see a flash and something in front of me. Something tall with black material flapping around it like the tail ends of an old-fashioned duster. Long, straw-colored hair. A scraggily goatee. A man? What’s a man doing at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere? Why’s he just standing there? Why doesn’t he get out of the way? I yank the wheel back the other way, and the car swerves around him.

And heads straight off the road.

When the world stops bouncing and the car settles, I try to keep my eyes focused, but everything blurs around the edges. The waves ebb, and I hear a crunching sound, like boots on gravel. Straining to see, I barely make out . . . What is that? A flag? No, it’s that flapping black material. I think it’s the man I swerved to miss.

A sweet, melodious voice makes its way through the undulating roar in my ears. “Let me help you.”

Help. Yes, I need help.

My Take:

Vinnie’s Diner is one of those books that I really don’t know how to describe. You know that print of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley in a late night diner? That’s what I was reminded of during the first half of this book. It read like a cross between that print and A Christmas Carol. Later, I was reminded of – and I’m showing my ‘geekiness’ here – a scene in an episode of Stargate: SG-1 where good battles evil, also in a diner. That first half was weirdly interesting. The appearance of famous people – including Judy Garland, Elvis, Marilyn, Mark Twain, and even Lassie – was bizarre. Thankfully, it wasn’t enough to make me throw my e-reader across the room, mainly because I expected there had to be something more. Not even the scenes from Allie’s life could make this part serious enough for me.

I found the second half of the book dramatically different. Everything changed in an instant. The famous dead people became minor background players. Allie’s insecurities emerged, as did the major two reasons for them. I discovered what contributed to her personality, and what her loved ones had experienced in order for them to impact her life as they did. Since her closest relatives are women, and since almost everything bad that happened to them was done by men, I’m surprised none of them became screaming feminists! But seriously, here is where the battle for Allie’s soul takes place. Vinnie from the diner represents good, and evil is represented by someone described as being like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. Ultimately, it’s up to Allie to decide in which direction she wants to go.

And from there, I’m sure you can guess the ending.

Thank you to Abingdon Press for my complimentary copy of Vinnie’s Diner, which I downloaded from NetGalley. No review was required.

Have you read Vinnie’s Diner? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Publisher: Abingdon Press

Publication Date: 07 April 2015

Page Count: 304

Read more on:   Jennifer Allee’s Website   Abingdon Press’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million

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