This is probably the LONGEST review I have ever written here at WordPress; I tried to trim it, but it just didn’t sit well with me, so bear that in mind if you are going to read this lol
Before getting into nitty-gritty, I must get this straight; this is my unbiased, 100% honest opinion. NOTHING affects my review for this book. I just wanted to make this crystal clear.
Now that the housekeeping is done, let’s talk about my thoughts and feels on this book.
First and foremost, I loved this book so much. The plot is well-thought out and intricately and methodically crafted. The execution is great, especially the last several chapters are stunningly beautiful, incredibly gut-wrenching, this is surprisingly and astoundingly a great read for a debut author.
That said though, I must admit that I felt the first 30% of the book, especially when the story moves onto the introduction of each of The Glass siblings a bit lackluster in comparison to the latter part of the book.
I did think the author did an amazing job of weaving and intertwining each character’s story with the main plot and I do understand it is part of the story build-up, yet I have to say it was a bit less strong and compelling. I was kind of gliding through the pages to see what happens next (sidenote: each chapter ends with a bit of a cliff hanger, which is partially what makes this book such a page-turner). I know I’m being a bit too rigid and nitpicky, that’s my nature, I cannot help it.
For me, it was from Chapter 10 where the plot really thickened and got more and more intriguing and emotionally engaging.
Olivia’s attempts to reconnect with each of her sons and put the family together kind of backfires and she finds herself plunged deeper into a complete mess.
From then onwards, I got completely hooked and couldn’t stop turning pages.
The characters are all well-drawn out; they all feel realistic, down to earth. There are, at times, actions/behaviors that I found a tad over the top (as in Olivia screaming at the top of her lungs) though, it didn’t hinder me from savoring and devouring this book. The strong, solid and lyrical writing shore up the already gripping story to be even more gripping, evocative and compelling to read. Honestly, this is one of the most therapeutic, heart-breaking yet stunningly beautiful family dramas that I have read all year. The intricately woven family stories – Olivia’s and her sons journey of reconciliation and rebirth, and their pursuit of happiness hit all the right notes with me and made me bawled so hard; I blame the author for all my tears and emotional mess – this book is definitely right up my alley as a reader who cherishes and adores the vicarious ride of a roller coaster of emotions.
I honestly say it’s hard to believe this is a debut novel; the solid writing exudes the feel that of experienced authors, and I got completely swept up in my emotions by the dialogues between his characters. The dialogues are what makes this book really shine. In particular, Olivia’s speech at Ben’s 70th birthday party was utterly stunning. This is where I felt the author’s sincerity and integrity most strongly. Olivia’s words and all the characters’ lines made me laugh, disturbed and broke my heart. Despite all the emotional havoc that I went through from reading that scene, I didn’t feel it was over the top. Yes, there’s a lot of drama, but it’s simply beautiful and poignant, the author struck the perfect balance so as not to let the scene and the whole book be reduced down to an over-the-top, overdramatic family saga. He did an amazing job of pulling the feat off. Tip my hat to the author. Really well done.
There are times where I was kind of put off by the characters’ actions and there were scenes that I felt slightly ‘off,’ especially in early part of the book, but like I mentioned, from Chapter 10 the story really took off and I got so invested in each and every one of the characters.
I especially disliked – hated – Olivia with a passion at first. She came across really judgmental, obnoxious and domineering. There are lines that I could barely suppress my anger and frustration towards Olivia’s discriminatory, judgmental remarks towards her family members. But at the same time, it was her initial obnoxiousness that eventually made this book really entertaining and enthralling to read through.
As I said, she was really an ‘old-witch’ and she was a type who wants to take a full control of everything – she seems to have felt no qualm of conscience about bulldozing her own way which is the quality I hate the most.
Nevertheless, as the staggering revelations are made and the realization that she has been completely blind to her sons’ issues dawns on her, she breaks down the façade as a domineering matriarch and develops herself into a more accepting woman. Her change is apparent in her words and following her journey of self-discovery and re-engineering was such a delight to me. Her growth put a smile on my face and made me attached to her a lot more than before. Through the agonizing journey she was forced to set out after Ben’s death and revelation, she becomes a veritable matriarch who is affectionate, generous, kind and humorous. I enjoyed her self-development tremendously.
It is also really therapeutic to see how the family comes together once again.
The Glass family crumbled to bits once, but each and every one of them picks themselves up from the debris and strengthens the bond much stronger than it had been. And the execution is simply spot-on. It felt so natural, no embellishment whatsoever. I loved that so much.
Throughout this book, the Glass family left a huge impact on me and I honestly didn’t want this story to end. I was in no way ready for leaving them behind and getting myself back to reality.
I love every one of them. Olivia, Teddy, Caleb, Zach, Matt and Ethan. They are all great and endearing in their own way and I am sure I’ll reflect on them every now and then.
This is no doubt a well and beautifully-written, delightful read and I am sure you will shed a lot of tears of sadness, joy and happiness. The last 10% of the book left me sobbing. The emotional impact that book left on me was much bigger than I had anticipated. I’m seriously having a book hangover – like I said, I don’t want to leave the Glass family, I want to relive the moments that I shared with them.
You might want to fasten your seatbelt and get ready for an emotional roller coaster. The last several chapters will definitely make you cry your eyes out – buckle up for the emotional mess and sleepless nights!
Although I ducked a star (to a half star; I’m still debating) for a teeny bit lackluster (but steady) buildup which goes on up to 30% of the book, given the fact I’ve become much harsher on books and ratings (I don’t give a book 5 stars unless the book utterly blows me away), 4 to 4.5 stars is undeniably commendable, I reckon!
I am so glad that I read this book. I thank the author for all my tears and a whirlwind of emotions, and more than anything, the vicarious experience that I had with the Glass family. It was honestly sheer joy and bliss as a reader. I fell in love with this book.