My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What an emotional read! And so filled with gut-wrenching imagery. Take an early airport scene as an example – it starts with Mallory waiting almost awkwardly, dressed to the nines and holding up a hand-made welcome home sign, where you kind of want to look the other way; and ends with ‘cold, stomach-sinking disbelief’ where you just want to give her a hug and let her cry on your shoulder.
Nash uses a tight narrative style, where every word counts and nothing is wasted (it’s not until about a quarter of the way through you find out where Mallory even lives) and builds a beautifully full main character. It’s so tightly written that I’m astounded just how many characters lives we come to know, how much ground is covered, and how many events are included without ever causing me to lose interest or get confused.
At the same time, Nash rounds out all the other players brilliantly. No one-dimensional, cardboard-cutout characters here – they all have their own personas and motivations, they’re all as individual as you’d expect in reality, and all have their different senses of humour and flashpoint triggers to anger.
If ever there was a role model for young women, Mallory is it, because, at risk of sounding cliché, this story was more about the journey than the ending. It seems everyone was broken in some way, everyone needed to learn to take that next step forward to live fully, and not everything actually had an ending anyway.
But more than anything, it’s Mallory’s personal mixture of strength and weakness: the way she is strong enough not to fall into the arms of another man while she gets her priorities straight and sorts out her current relationship (even though you want her to! By the gods do you want her to…) and yet so weak she falls into the familiar, easy traps of her life like so many of us are guilty of.
An absolutely beautiful read and worth every minute of staying up all night to finish it!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review