Jessica's Reviews > The Stuff That Never Happened

The Stuff That Never Happened by Maddie Dawson
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's review
Feb 02, 2011

liked it

I tell my writing students about the neessity of hanging in a few pages longer than wanted with books. I know after one not-so-wonderful page, they are ready to throw in the towel on the whole thing. They look up, covet the television, the wii--anything but what they are holding in their hands.

My examples of two books I wished to cast aside are Beloved and The English Patient, excellent, beautiful books each. But after a chapter or two my first go around with both, I was ready to throw said book against nearby wall.

The Stuff That Never Happened is not in the league with those books above, and to be honest, if I hadn't had it on my gym Kindle, I would have stopped after the first couple of chapters. I wasn't in love with Annabelle or her middle aged whining (whining I could share in some respects and she and I are the same age). Her dealings with her therapist and husband Grant just didn't seem to matter at all. Yes, her children were gone, yes her husband isn't paying attention to her. I wished she'd grow a pair and shut up.

The good news for me is that she didn't shut up, and a plot twist occured to pull her away from home and the book actually got really very good and interesting and deep. The ending is predictable, and I think we could argue about Annabelle's choice in terms of rightness, but everything about this story tightened and strengthened, and I was clicking my way fast to the end, working out on that treadmill like there was no tomorrow.

A good, satisfying, story, with a debatable ending, one worth talking about.


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