Getting back into the swing of things each week is hard. So is finding the quiet time to write a review over the weekend. In order to ease out of the weekend, I’ve decided to begin my blogging week with a mini review.
I read and loved Rosamund Lupton’s debut novel, Sister, so I was excited when I learned that her second novel had been published. It was one of the first books I bought with my Random House gift card a couple of years ago. It was also one of the first books I selected when I sat down to compile my TBR list for Roof Beam Reader’s 2015 TBR Pile Challenge. When I finally picked it up, took off the dust jacket (I never read a hardcover with the dust jacket on), I began the book with great anticipation. I finished it in time to write this Monday Mini post.
Note: While I don’t give away any spoilers in this review, my reaction to the ending may give away more than some readers might like. Proceed with caution.
This book begins by asking the reader to suspend disbelief. Grace, a 39-year-old mother of two, has been severely injured in a school fire. Her consciousness doesn’t remain in her living, breathing body, but leaves it in search of answers as to what happened. Her 16-year-old daughter, Jenny, who was also very injured in the fire, does the same. They see all of the commotion and hear all of the conversations that take place in the hospital. They are acutely aware that this fire was no accident and they work hard to remember every detail and observe as much as they can in order to save their conscious family and themselves. They also have to address the demons within their own relationship. I had no problem letting go and following Lupton’s story because it and the questions surrounding the fire were compelling to me.
It wasn’t until the last quarter or the book that I started to have a hard time. No other unconscious patients make their way into the story, but there is contact with the conscious world that began the process of me pulling away from the story. Then things began to deliberately leap frog to divert suspicion and attention. When the final jump was made, I stopped caring – mostly. I cared enough to get irritated when excuses were made for the arsonist. When things like that happen in a novel I really do feel robbed. Righteous anger is okay. Calling out premeditated acts of destruction and harm is okay. There is nothing wrong with feeling that anger, even hatred. Turning immediately to understanding invalidates the journey I just took with you.
As I write this out, I realize that the ending of this book made me more than irritated. I’m angry and disappointed. It didn’t have to end this way.