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Everything You Need
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1001 book reviews > Everything You Need by A.L. Kennedy

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Diane | 2023 comments Rating: somewhere between 3.5 and 4

This is a story about a man trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter in a writer's retreat on a remote island in Wales. It is a lot more complicated than my description of the plot indicates. The main themes are about relationships and the travails of being a writer.

It took me a while to adjust to Kennedy's writing style, but it paid off. Once I became engrossed in the story, it became hard to put down. My only complaints being that she uses the "F" word far too much and that she shifts settings rather abruptly. I do love the way she includes the thoughts of the character alongside their dialogue. This gave you an accurate insight into what they were thinking and feeling when they spoke their lines. Very clever. The main character was frustrating and through all 500+ pages of the book I wanted to scream "Just say it, already!" I will let you figure that out and whether or not he ever said it when you read the book. ;P

Amanda Dawn | 1000 comments Yeah, I ended up giving it 3 stars, but somewhere between 3 and 4 is probably accurate for me as well. I also really enjoyed the embedding of the internal dialogue into the external dialogue. The switch between Nathan’s book about events and how things are actually unfolding later was well done too.

I anticipated not really liking this at all early on because I’m kind of over sad sack writer dudes being the focus of so many narratives. But, Kennedy is a great writer and I did find myself having sympathy for Nathan despite this, even if I never really actually liked him or agreed with him holding back the truth from Mary for so many years.

I also enjoyed the time spent with Mary and her trying to navigate her writing career and complex feelings about her family. I was also super partial to her relationship with her uncles who raised her, which was super functional and affectionate and contrasted well with Nathan’s situation. So, everything that happens to said uncles- Morgan and Bryn- did move me.

But, overall I would say this was a really good novel that I enjoyed reading well enough, but I don’t know if there is anything about it that puts it in the echelon of classics and masterpieces that you “have to read” before you die.

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