I began this book with cautious optimism. The opening sentence of the book synopsis described it as a mix of "Me Before You" and "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine", both books I have read in the past with differing levels of emotional impact.
In the end, my overall enjoyment of this novel drifted a little more toward the less impactful Eleanor Oliphant level. The main characters were well developed and played important roles in the overall evolution of the story. The controversial themes were investigated in a thought-provoking but open-ended manner that provided the reader an opportunity to form their own opinions based upon the thoughts and actions of all the characters, whether they were octogenarians or adolescents.
But… for some reason, my ability to "believe" the manner in which the overseas component of this novel took place left something to be desired. While I understand it wasn't the main focus of the novel, it felt a bit lacking in depth and too formulaic, with the same things shared by those characters, over and over again.
Perhaps my wish for a romantic component to this story (similar to the one in "Me Before You") is what caused my high level of expectations to not be completely met. It's why I usually try to ignore the comparison comments in book blurbs (if you like X, you'll love this story).
While this may not have been my favorite book of the year, I enjoyed the tender yet open manner in which a delicate subject was investigated, through the eyes of Stanley, Stella, Rose, and of course, Eudora. And it reminded me that life truly is brilliant, when we look at it with honesty and fill it with acceptance, and love.
Dave’s Rating: ☕️☕️☕️
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