Seeds of Doubt, by Stephanie Kane, follows the investigative efforts of the dyslexic lawyer, Jakie Flowers. Her client, Rachel, was convicted of murdering a young boy when she was 12 years old. Shortly after her release 30 years later, another local boy was murdered in the same way, and suspicion automatically fell on her.
As soon as I opened the book, I knew it was printed with dyslexic readers in mind. The lines were spaced beautifully, there was a fair amount of white space in the margins and the font was dyslexic friendly. The pages were also cream colored, which is always better than white for photosensitive eyes.
As for dyslexia symptoms, Kane really did her research. Jackie has severe dyslexia, so she has her assistant do the text based part of her job. However, she also misunderstands some spoken words, which is another symptom commonly ignored, organizational problems and a couple of issues with following directions. Because of that, she doesn’t drive unless she absolutely has to, which is something I personally relate to.
However, her strengths shone through in how she connected events, saw the big picture and looked in areas others ignored. It’s fantastic to see the broader picture presented, as opposed to a small neurological corner.
On a mental health level, Jackie seems to have a touch of PTSD in relation to the excessive bullying she was submitted to in school, though it was never named. The symptoms are all there.
The characters Jackie interacted with the most reacted realistically to her mistakes, as well. Instead of making a big deal of it, they usually just corrected her offhandedly and moved on with the conversations. I found it interesting how she hid her dyslexia in court by using legal pads as props, though she never wrote anything in them.
Rachel is another interesting character. After leaving prison, her social skills were questionable, as sometimes happens, but even before then, she was seen as “uncanny” and “creepy”, which makes me wonder if Kane gave her some sort of nonverbal learning disability or maybe a high functioning version of a developmental disability.
Story-wise, I enjoyed the book, for the most part. The setting was wonderful, the humor fantastic and the plot kept me reading. I wasn’t all that fond of the romance thrown in there, though. It didn’t really feel as if it were necessary, but that could also be my dislike of the genre speaking, too.
I also enjoyed the fact that Jackie is a powerful character in her own right without sacrificing her femininity, as are the other women in the book. Of course, there are male characters, and they’re also interesting, but I can’t begin to say how refreshing it is to see well rounded female characters leading the charge. It’s even better when the main character struggles with some of the same things I do.
It’s a very quick read, thanks to Kane’s easy writing style and the book’s formatting. I think I finished it in about four days, so if you’re not dyslexic, it probably won’t take you as long.
Seeds of Doubt is a fun story, and a great representation of a strong dyslexic woman. I’d suggest it for those who enjoy crime stories and want some light reading.
I’m including this with the #womenslives initiative, because yay, awesome female characters! Even more yay female DYSLEXIC characters!