This page-turner kept me up until 3:00 a.m. It appears to be a brave exploration of the author's personal family demons. While I likedEnding the Cycle
This page-turner kept me up until 3:00 a.m. It appears to be a brave exploration of the author's personal family demons. While I liked it better than Ugly Love, it wasn't my favorite CoHo novel.
Lily has recently finished grad school when her abusive father dies. She's musing about her anti-eulogy on a rooftop when a handsome guy comes up to the roof to vent about something without knowing she's watching him.
First Ryle beats the crap out of a deck chair, then he smokes pot. Lily learns he's a neurosurgeon. (Hello, McDreamy!) Knowing marijuana's effects on the brain, I wouldn't want MY neurosurgeon to be a pot smoker. Something is off with him yet Lily feels drawn in.
I never really connected with Ryle (with good reason, it turns out), and I didn't get a good sense of the other man in her life, Atlas, because once again (like in Ugly Love) a major part of the story happens almost entirely in the past. I'm hoping the next novel this author chooses to write (which I'm sure I'll devour) happens in the present so I can savor the characters more.
I do like how Lily and Ryle start right off the bat sharing "naked truths", which allow them to get deep in a brief time. The naked truths feel ironic given what happens later in the book. They're a good device to show that even if we think we know someone, there may be layers unknown to us.
I also like Ryle's confession about his concerns over adding a relationship to his busy professional life. I have had those exact same thoughts:
I was worried that being in a relationship would add to my responsibilities. That's why I've avoided them my whole life...But after tonight, I realized that maybe a lot of people are just doing it wrong. Because what's happening between us doesn't feel like a responsibility. It feels like a reward.
When Lily was a teenager, she fell in love with a homeless boy, Atlas. She reveals their story through journal entries. When Atlas asks Lily why she loves gardening, her explanation leads him to make a comparison:
"Plants reward you based on the amount of love you show them. If you're cruel to them or neglect them, they give you nothing. But if you care for them and love them the right way, they reward you with gifts in the form of vegetables or fruits or flowers."
"We're just alike," he said. "Plants and humans. Plants need to be loved the right way in order to survive. So do humans. We rely on our parents from birth to love us enough to keep us alive. And if our parents show us the right kind of love, we turn out as better humans overall. But if we're neglected..."
Family dynamics fascinate me and I wish there was more exploration of the family history. We get a good sense of Lily's horror when family dysfunction repeats itself, but I have trouble connecting the dots between Ryle's family trauma and his adult behavior. And I want counseling for these characters to heal from their traumas.
But I LOVED Lily's mother's wisdom when Lily needed it the most.