I was very underwhelmed as I was reading this book. I found myself getting deeper and deeper into the story and wondering what the point of it was.
This book is about Isabel, Iz for short, who’s life is actually falling apart. Her best friend has just died, her husband has moved out unable to understand or console her grief, her teenage daughter hates her and keeps things from her, and her mother, who recently had a stroke, it becoming more dependent on her.
Maybe it’s because I haven’t experienced grief over the loss of a loved one in my adult life. The last time I lost someone I loved, I was only ten. While I feel for Iz going through this very rough patch in her life, I didn’t feel like I connected with her or saw the point in the story. Maybe if you have experience that kind of grief as an adult, you would be able to enjoy this novel more.
By the end of the novel, nothing is solved. But that’s not my problem. I don’t expect to Iz to have figured out how to deal with her grief of her best friend, her realization that her mother’s mortality, of how to patch things up between her husband, herself, and their daughter. But I would have liked to have seen more progress made to her life.
I guess the big thing in this novel is how in the beginning, she feels nothings, and then towards the middle and end of the book, she starts to feel anger and desire. But that’s not enough for me. I would have liked to have seen more character development with her.
For $9.87, I wouldn’t bother. But if you feel a connection to this story, feel free to pick it up for yourself.
“The morning of Josie’s funeral was cloudless and knife-sharp, one of those bitter spring days that comes sandwiched between warmer ones and reminds you not to grow accustomed to good things.”
“There was probably a long, hard-to-pronounce German word for it: the overwhelming feeling of feeling nothing.”
“I was always doing this, cracking dumb, inscrutable jokes in the presence of handsome men. It was as if I were programmed to alienate, as if somewhere deep down I wanted to be single forever.”
“This is the moment our marriage ended, I thought, as if I were both present in this moment and also looking back on it from far off in the future.”
“Every year I explain to my fifth graders the debate about the art versus the artist: Can you love a work of art if the person who produced it was truly awful? Wagner hated Jews. Picasso mistreated his wives. Dickens was a rotten husband and a crummy father. Most of my students, preteen moral absolutists, come down quickly and vehemently against the reprehensible artist. But there are always one or two – the boy with the alcoholic mother, the girl whose father sends her a check for her birthday and Christmas – who reluctantly raise their hands in favor of ambiguity, of siphoning what is beautiful from an imperfect source.”
“There are these moments – every day, really; they pile up on top of each other – when I think my heart will stop from too much love and grief. But it never does, or at least it hasn’t so far.”
“And then I walk away again, getting more practice at leaving than I ever wanted.”
“Love was foolish and inevitable. We were just waiting to be shattered by it. The days were finite, full of awe.”