The First Law of Motion
K.R. Moorhead
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Buy *The First Law of Motion* by K.R. Moorhead online

The First Law of Motion
K.R. Moorhead
St. Martin's Griffin
192 pages
November 2009
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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This isn't a terrible book; it's just that the story has been told and retold many times. It is the tale of a girl who breaks up with a boyfriend and descends into a spiral of indiscriminate sex and drugs. You can read a variation on this theme in Ellis's Less Than Zero. There simply isn't a lot of originality here. And on top of that, this main character is flawed beyond redemption. A few pages in, you're rooting for her to OD, go to prison, or simply sit in a corner and completely give up. She is not very likeable and every time the author gives her a chance to salvage some small part of her dignity, our downer main character trips down several more flights of stairs.

At times, the dialogue here sounds like it was written for bad television. Soap opera stuff. It just doesn't ring true. Additionally, every new chapter delivers up more questions and no answers? Why does she break into a stranger's house and sleep in his bed? Why does she really go back to her boyfriend? And what the hell does the ending mean?

After 179 pages of taking drugs and sexing every guy she meets, our character comes to her final scene. These are the closing words:

"I saw a man on a train, reading a book that reminded me of Daniel. And without ever knowing I exist, that man changed me.

"Sometimes ordinary things can be glorious.

"I still believe that."
Did the book remind her of Daniel (her ex) or did the man? Then the second line of that paragraph jumps tenses (from past to present). Beyond that, this girl never believed ordinary things were glorious, and she certainly didn't learn or come to believe that by book's end. Moorhead is a competent writer, but without a story this falls short.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2010

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