brooke davis has given readers such an interesting and sensitive book about grief, and how everyone copes with loss so differently.3.5-stars, really.
brooke davis has given readers such an interesting and sensitive book about grief, and how everyone copes with loss so differently. there is no right or wrong way to grieve the deaths of people you love. with hope, you have family and friends who will support you during these times (and if you allow them to do so), and you will find a way through the dwam*.
in davis's novel, we have three people rather undone, having lost their anchors to this world: 7yo millie, 87yo karl, and 82yo agatha. the three characters come together as they work to get millie across australia to her aunt's house, all the while evading the police and children's services. the quirk factor is high in this story, but it feels like a big heart is at the centre of it all so i wasn't too put off by the quirkiness. some moments, though, were a bit far-fetched but i really was just cheering for everything to be okay for millie, who is a wonderful character. the ending of the novel was not very strong for me, so that did take away from the read quite a bit. davis spent so much time building up the characters and situations, only to offer a quick 'flash forward' moment, accompanied by the 'they don't know this yet, but...' set-up. it felt so sudden, disappointing and thin.
overall, i did like the story and i am sure this book will be loved by many readers. ...more
oui ou non? ce est une question facile avec pas de réponses faciles. yes or no? it is a simple question with no easy answers. this p3.5-stars, really.
oui ou non? ce est une question facile avec pas de réponses faciles. yes or no? it is a simple question with no easy answers. this premise seems to be the heart of the novel for me.
o'neill weaves the politics of the 1995 quebec referendum into this novel. the referendum, for those unfamiliar, asked citizens in quebec if they should remain as a part of canada, or become an independent state? in english, the ballot read: "Do you agree that Quebec should become sovereign after having made a formal offer to Canada for a new economic and political partnership within the scope of the bill respecting the future of Quebec and of the agreement signed on June 12, 1995?" voters could reply 'yes' or 'no'. 93.52% of the 5,087,009 registered Quebecers voted in the referendum, a higher turnout than any provincial or federal election in Canada's history. the 'no' side won 50.5% of the vote. quebec stayed. this was a big deal in the province and in the country. separatists are stll working and hoping in quebec.
the yes/no question of independence is important to the main character in o'neill's book - nouschka. nouschka and her twin brother nicolas are a disaster. abandoned by their 14yo (!!) mother and with a washed-up 1970s terrible singer of a singing star father, the twins were put with their uncle loulou to be raised. loulou is a sweet man, but seems wholly incapable in the role of parent. the twins were essentially left to their own devices - when not being trotted out on stage to boost their father's career. it made for a tumultuous and aimless existence. now as 19yos (20, by story's end) both nouschka and nicolas are floundering terribly. nouschka is determined to return to school. she dreams of being a writer. but she is so tethered to her brother that it is nearly impossible for her to imagine living apart from him. it's a weird co-dependency, unhealthy in many ways, but completely understandable.
o'neill's writing is sharp - there is a very vivid quality to this novel, and i felt many parts of the story very viscerally. these kids are young and reckless and from the very beginning you just know this is headed nowhere good. but you hope... please just let things be okay. i feel that this is a very ambitious and creative book. but.... (i am so sorry.... i really wish there wasn't a 'but' here!) for as many insightful, painful and wonderful moments there were in the story, there is a morass of metaphors and similes. some of them were great. most were... overdone. i haven't yet counted them, but a search of the word 'like' brings up pages and pages of results on my e-reader.
a curiosity in the story: the incredible overabundance of cats. so. many. cats. (and i feel the need to know whether similes or cats would win in the count?) they slip in and out of scenes. when asked about the cats, o'neill had this to say:
"I wrote one scene and this cat just struts by and the cat has so much personality. The cat knew the score and was kind of above all this and was commenting on it a little bit," she says. "I was like, 'I'm going to have these cats all over the place.' And then I wondered if people were even going to notice that I've put a lot of cats in here."
murakami is into cats too -- but i have still not read him. (I KNOW!) but i felt like i was being constantly reminded to read him every time a cat popped into o'neill's story.
overall there is much to like, or even love in this novel. it is gritty and alive. it's clever and bold. for me, though, the similes were just too much, and that took away from the read, which is why i haven't rated the book any higher. it will be interesting to see if the book sticks with me over the next few days. sometimes that happens and i end up feeling stronger or even more impressed with a bit of distance. it would be nice if that happens.
the girl who was saturday night has been longlisted for the 2015 women's prize for fiction, which is pretty exciting as it's the only canadian book in contention. i hope it goes to the shortlist (announced april 13th), and i wouldn't be unhappy at all if it wins. i have read 8/20 of the longlisted books so far and this has been one of the better reads.
there were many moments in this book which i really enjoyed so much, but there were parts that just didn't come together for me. i was frustrated by tthere were many moments in this book which i really enjoyed so much, but there were parts that just didn't come together for me. i was frustrated by the stubbornness and lack of communication going on between alec and vera (father and daughter in the novel). i get it. i do. people really are like this, and it's great to write around two characters like this. i suppose i just feel like more opportunities could have been taken to show more dimensions with alec and vera. they did have moments, and i liked when these were presented in the story. i have read vanderhaeghe before, and loved him. so perhaps my expectations were just too high going into this novel? please know i didn't dislike the book - i did like it. i just didn't love it....more