The reviews were brilliant on Amazon, it has received 4.5 stars! Everyone was writing positive things about it online. Once I got my hands on a copy, one of the reviews promised that “Lisa is one of the best writers of women’s fiction”. VERY promising indeed.
It was horrible. I was so disappointed. If this is the best of women’s fiction, I don’t know want to know what they consider worse.
From the very beginning I wasn’t completely mesmerized by the plot. But hey, I am not one to judge early. As the book went on though it became painful to read and actually had me enraged. I threw the book on the floor. My boyfriend can act as my witness. I can’t recall the last time I have had this kind of a reaction to a book. Oh wait, I have never done that before.
There was not a single character who I could relate to. The closest person I could sympathize with was Megan I suppose. I can see what the author was trying to accomplish; tracing how a family falls apart due to a tragedy. I think there is a difference between a flawed family and one that is completely unrealistic.
Lisa Jewell is just trying too hard to make the family dysfunctional and tries to tackle an excessive amount of themes which makes the book one huge mess. Hoarding, teenage suicide, eating disorders, incest, incarceration, running away from problems, adultery, alcoholism; you name a problem she’s written it in. She then tries to string them all together at the very end when they just all forgive each other and “grow up”. Woopty-doo.
The climax of my angst was probably when Beth was sleeping with her sister’s partner and continued to do so for about a year, while still maintaining her great relationship with her sister. I feel like the author wants the reader to hate every single one of them. Things continue to get worse for each character as the plot is revealed, and nothing positive is highlighted until the last few chapters.
I wish I had never bought this book or read it. The only positive I can take away from this mess of a book was that the next book doesn’t need much to seem excellent.
Verdict: Like watching an amplified soap opera. *shudders*