I am a little confused and rather dissatisfied yet liking this book, all at the same time.
Wink Poppy Midnight is written in a style that is part poetic, part whimsical, and mostly saturated in a fairy tale-esque sauce. It gives you this little disjointed feeling at some areas due to the constant POV-switch and the rather fast pace, yet you can’t put it down. There’s some magical force sucking you into the book’s world and you just have to read, read, read until you reach the very end. And so, the writing is certainly the strongest feature of this book, able to almost make you blind to the flaws it has and even after you do note the presence of those flaws, you’ll continue to overlook them—just like how Poppy blinds Midnight, and how Midnight continues to let Poppy do what she does despite his unwillingness to continue being under her thumb. You can’t fully remove the blindfold until you actually remove yourself from the book’s world.
So, what do I see now that my view’s cleared? Three things:
Firstly, I see a lack of major/important conflicts. There isn’t much beyond what the synopsis says and for just about the entirety of the book, it’s just about Midnight debating the pros and cons and the differences between Wink and Poppy, and his inability to completely remove himself (in terms of thought and actions) from one or to completely embrace everything of the other.
Second, the glaring fact that this book is full of flat characters. Yeah, I did feel bad for Midnight in the first few pages. I wished that Wink would be perfect for him, that Poppy would get a taste of her own medicine and that Poppy’s crush would never ever be requited. Then, a hundred pages in, I’ve completely lost those feelings. The characters detached themselves from me and it felt as though I’m this supremely faraway observer who can only hear muted, indistinguishable dialogue, and whose incredibly blurred vision can only vaguely make out splotches of colour. They’re there, I know that they are but they aren’t at the same while. Even so, I continued forward and now that I’m done reading this book, the fact that the characters aren’t complex enough to feel human has finally sunken into my head. In fact, they don’t undergo any sort of actual development that makes them real.
Lastly, a question that puzzles me to no end and it may seem like nothing huge to you but is there no such thing as locked doors and windows for houses in America? Or wherever the setting of this book is? How do people keep entering houses in the middle of the night with no (proper) questions asked? Really, I understand the plot well enough to grasp the general picture and maybe some specific bits as well, but I just can’t understand this part. It’s as though they just waltz in through doors and magically fly in through windows…!
Considering all of the above, Wink Poppy Midnight is an incredibly simple book made complex by the way it’s been written. You can search underneath the surface for some sort of more substantial meaning but other than that, there is nothing else. It’s not like a Haruki Murakami novel that makes you look underneath the underneath’s underneath for some meaning that clicks in your mind, it’s just a rather shallow book with an abrupt end. A nice, fast-paced read but shallow nonetheless.