Published by Random House Publishing Group on January 20th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Contemporary Women, Thrillers, Suspense
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“And it was all ancient history now, anyway. Of course it is upon the rubble of ancient history that the present stands.”
I liked this book. It deals with themes forgiveness (especially of self) and the mistakes of the past affecting the future. I wasn’t always anxious to pick it back up, but it was easy to read once I did. There were many beautiful passages.
Why I rated it 3 stars:
* The book is basically Annie Black’s interior monologue and the narrative is a bit jumpy and confusing, especially in the beginning of the book and in the present-day storyline. I read a lot of non-linear narratives (it seems like most modern literary fiction authors use this technique these days), but I have never had to write down a timeline before. It was confusing because there were many varying time markers mentioned in quick succession and not necessarily in chronological order. So much time jumping on a single page!
* The constant allusions to the future became distracting and made the book seem longer than it was, because the events alluded too didn’t happen until a great many chapters later.
* The characters weren’t fully fleshed out and I wish we would have gotten to know the husband and son better. I didn’t feel like the son’s story was fully resolved in the end. Annie Black’s actions were frustrating sometimes and I was never really rooting for her. Once the photo arrives on her doorstep, it seems like her 40 year old self instantly reverts to her 20 year old self.
* Because it was written as a letter to her son, anything that was TMI took me out of the story. That eventually becomes a non-issue, but I didn’t know that until the end!
* Pronouns became confusing in passages dealing with the husband and the son.
Despite those issues, I think Ellison’s writing is very engaging. I think if you enjoy this genre (domestic mysteries, bored housewives, etc.), you will enjoy this book. It is a good, lazy weekend read!
“But maybe even that wantonness was forgivable. We are only flesh and blood. We are only chemicals mixing and circuits firing, sometimes in disarray. We are, every last one of us, plagued by useless want.”