Just trying out the “blog this review” functionality on the social reading site I use, GoodReads. I love using GoodReads to keep track of books I’ve read, and, especially, to remember the books I intend to read. I also get a lot of new reading ideas from my friends on the site. I don’t do a lot of book reviews, but maybe I’ll start!
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love books that try to make sense of life, and for that I give this book due respect. Somehow it managed to capture the essence of “middle marriage” without being trite or predictable (though it skated right on the edge). It brought home some universal themes with great details and a few memorable characters; unfortunately the main character was not one. While I related to the heroine, Lena, I never fully bought her character. I felt that I had to take the narrator’s word for it that Lena was “all that”: everyone else certainly seemed to worship her, but I never quite got the evidence that she was doing anything more than surviving. Ivy and Cal were the best-made characters in the book, in my opinion. I found the author’s voice a little confused at times. Instead of an omniscient narrator, it almost seemed that the characters were omniscient, making comments that were almost unbelievably global and perceptive. Once I suspended my disbelief and moved past that, the book picked up and the story became quite compelling.
I did find it stunning that the author managed to make this book as current as the events of 2009 and handled that context very well. In all, I enjoyed the storytelling and the themes. What this novel depicts well is that wounded children become lost adults who then wound their own children; that we take our mates for granted, “throwing love over our shoulders” while we try to deal with our own demons, and that “being here now” is all that really matters, for we can lose everything in a heartbeat.