Saturday, June 11, 2016

WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER BY AMY JONES - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is We're All in This Together by Amy Jones. Thanks so much to Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


Going into this book, I had no really idea what to expect. I knew it was about a family of which the matriarch, mother, wife, etc. goes over a waterfall in a barrel. That and the author is Canadian and the book was set in Canada. At it's bare bones, I suppose that is what this book is about, but their is also so much more to the story.

There are quite a few perspectives that we get, although the first, and main one is of one of the twin daughters, Serafina, or Finn. Finn is the one who 'got out,' leaving behind her family for the big city. After Finn hears that her mom, Kate, was in an accident, she begrudgingly goes home for a few days. Finn was an interesting character, she is pretty much at the point in her life where nothing makes her happy anymore, not her family and not her life away. She does grow quite a bit thoughout the novel, and sees that life in the Parker house is never 'normal.'

We also get to know Finn's twin sister, Nicki, who is pretty much her polar opposite. After becoming a teen mom, Nicki stayed up north with her parents, eventually having a set of twin girls herself, and a little boy, all with different fathers. Although Nicki was portrayed as your typical "white-trash," she was also a little bit endearing and she actually ends up being a better sister than Finn originally thought. There's a lot of anger in Nicki, but I think there's a lot of emotion in general in her character, everything she does, it is with all she has.

Another one of the 'children' is Shawn. Technically, he is just a boy Kate took in when he was a teenager, riding the rails, getting into trouble, but he is practically a Parker. Out of all the characters in the book, I think he was my least favourite. He is married and has two boys, but seems to care more about the Parkers, than his own family.

We also get quite a bit of the story told in the perspective of Shawn's wife, Katriina, who I think was my favourite character. In an attempt to save their marriage from the dullness, they decide to have another baby. Unfortunately, Katriina ends up having three miscarriages, the last of which occurs on the day Kate goes over the falls. Katriina has a hard time being the steady constant that Shawn needs, and ends up driving herself to the brink trying to be perfect. At one point, she takes a box cutter to her calves because she can't deal with it anymore. I loved how raw and real Katriina's chapters felt, and part of me almost wishes that this book was more about her and Shawn's life, with Kate's accident more of a side story. This little family fascinated me, and I was always excited to read Katriina's chapters and get back to the 'good' part.

There are also a couple other POV's, Kate herself, Walter, Kate's husband, and London, Kate's granddaughter and Nicki's daughter. Walter's chapters were interesting enough, but I didn't feel they added much. London's side story was a little bit, I think, unnecessary, but I suppose it did have some point in the end.

Storywise, I enjoyed this book. I think I would have preferred if there was one main storyline, I guess it was supposed to be the waterfall incident, but I just felt, because Kate was in a coma and not really mentally stable, we didn't really get a lot of details on the event. I think if one of the other stories was a main one, like Katriina and Shawn, and Kate's was more secondary, that would have been better. Although I do get that the author was trying to show that yes, this crazy thing happened, but there's also crazy 'normal' issues going on as well, i.e. marital issues, meeting strange men online, cheating boyfriends, having to choose between work and family, all things people can relate to, because most can't relate to going over a waterfall in a barrel.

I think this book was very well written. It is told over the course of four days, and the writing style really made it enjoyable. You really felt like you were in the character's heads.

Overall, I think this is a great summer read, perfect for the beach, that deals with family issues that are easily relatable.