As far as writing and story goes this is a 4 star book. But good lord I hated it.
This is the story of the Lee family – Marilyn and James – their 3 children Nathan, Lydia and Hannah. At the beginning of the story Lydia dies at 16 years old – throughout the book we figure out why.
This is not my kind of book. Not one character was likable. They were all self-absorbed and self-indulgent. They created huge problems by wallowing and not communicating and focusing so hard on themselves it’s a miracle someone didn’t explode. The tone of the book was “drudgery,” and reading it felt a bit like a homework assignment.
I think it was brilliant as a character study. The reader got to go deep into these people – their motivations and thoughts and actions. I think if you want a book that really flays people, opens them up to let you poke around inside, exposes everything dirty and uncomfortable – this is stellar. The superb writing and messy characters make this the perfect place to get lost in all the flaws of humanity.
However, while I’m a lady who likes dark and edgy, I don’t like “weakness.” I tend to strongly dislike characters who step outside the bounds of my moral code. I can’t stand a pity party. And to me that’s what this book was. “Poor Marilyn – unable to follow her dreams.” “Poor James – life was tough for him.” Morose and smothering – the only time this book made me happy is when it ended.