I came across The View on the Way Down quite randomly on my Amazon Recommended page, and the cover was the first thing that caught my eye. Coupled wit...moreI came across The View on the Way Down quite randomly on my Amazon Recommended page, and the cover was the first thing that caught my eye. Coupled with the slightly sparse synopsis, I was intrigued - and the rest, as they say, is history.
At the beginning of the book, I thought The View On the Way Down would probably be one of those sweet coming-of-age stories - Emma is fourteen years old, her parents are practically divorced but still sleeping in the same bed, and her older brother has disappeared. Emma is lonely, has self-confidence issues and a dedication to God. And that's when I started to feel a little uncomfortable - did I pick up a religious book by mistake? Insert spoiler here because I think it's important for people who don't enjoy religious books - Emma's religion is a plot device only, and gradually plays less and less of a role in her life.
The View on the Way Down is told in multiple POV's and formats, which actually surprised me when it happened - although the synopsis actually suggests otherwise, I went into this book thinking it was told completely from Emma's perspective, but all the family members have their say, and there is also one part told completely in letters which worked extremely well.
The characters are realistic and varied - it was easy to sympathise with Emma, who struggles to make friends and whose family pretty much imploded when she was too young to understand what was happening, and now lives in the fall out without realising why her father isolates himself and her mother throws herself into being the perfect housewife. None of the characters are perfect, and all have dealt with the death of one of the brothers, Kit, in their own very personal way.
I'm always a little wary of books that say they will break your heart in the synopsis. I'm a pretty tough nut to crack and although The View on the Way Down didn't have me in floods of tears, it was certainly very touching and in parts, quite emotional to read as the characters deal with grief, guilt, blame and forgiveness, particularly in the final third of the book.
The View on the Way Down isn't a happy ending book - it's a realistic look at family dynamics and grief, and how they effect each person as an individual and as a group. And although there are parts that are incredibly sad and even difficult to read, there is also an element of hope that made it a satisfying, well-rounded story that was a pleasure to read.
I don’t remember how I found this book, perhaps on a random wandering through Audible a few months ago. In early 2011 I was listening to a lot of audi...moreI don’t remember how I found this book, perhaps on a random wandering through Audible a few months ago. In early 2011 I was listening to a lot of audiobooks, but after a few ‘boring’ experiences I stopped. I did try and listen to this one a few months ago but wasn’t in the right state of mind. This time around however, I was hooked.
The subject of pologymst cults has always held a fascination for me. I’m not good at sharing anything, so I’m intrigued by the concept of sharing your husband, your family, everything in your life, without questioning whether it is right or wrong to do so.
The characters in The Chosen One were the highlight for me – Kyra in particular is completely imaginable as a real girl, who just wants to experience life, love and books, but is bound by the beliefs of her family to a life of isolation and subservience.
The story is engaging and enthralling – the mother characters in particular held my fascination with their unwavering belief that life as ‘one of the wives’ is normal and morally right.
The ending is quite abrupt but I felt that was fitting to the book – there was never going to be a neat, happy ending with this one.
As for the Audible version – I thought the narration by Jenna Lamia was great, she really did sound like a 13 year old girl! (less)