Wednesday, September 14, 2016

SUNDAY'S ON THE PHONE TO MONDAY BY CHRISTINE REILLY - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Sunday's on the Phone to Monday by Christine Reilly. Thank you so much to the author and NetGalley for sending me an eARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.



Going into this book, I didn't really know what to expect. I had heard good things, but nothing too specific to the plot or story itself. After reading the synopsis, I was excited. The premise sounded vaguely reminiscent of Everything I Never Told You, a story not necessarily about a couple falling in love, but rather the story of the love between a family.

The story was broken up into two parts, "parents" and "daughters." The first section was the story of Matilde and Claudio growing up and falling in love. There was a lot of 70s references, rock and roll, drugs, just that sort of 70s hippie vibe. I didn't find the elements overwhelming, they did indeed add to the story. The second part dealt more with the family once their daughters were born. Natasha and Lucy, born three years apart, and Carly, adopted from China, a year younger than Lucy. Each one of the girls are different, in their own unique ways. Because of her heart condition, Lucy, the middle girl is the main focus of the three, however.

The pacing of this book was fairly slow, but I think that was due to two things.

The first, was the writing. It is quite lyrical, but I'm not sure how it suited the story. I found some parts tedious, I was getting impatient and just wanted to see what was going on. The story was told in a way you would tell the story to someone else, orally, not written down. Perhaps that was in part of the third person perspective, you were being shown and told what was happening, as opposed to feeling what was happening first hand. This style, I think, suited more the first part of the book, almost looking back on the parents lives from teens onward, but I found it harder to get into when the timeline switched to a later period.

The other reason, I think, for the slow pacing was that I had a hard time figuring out what the main conflict was going to be. There were a couple different storylines to follow, and I couldn't figure out which was going to be the 'big' one. There were times when the story felt a little directionless. Looking back, I can see what was happening, what was meant to be the big event, but in the story, I couldn't and that made the story seem to drag a little. Maybe it was also because I read an electronic copy, but I couldn't tell as easily when the book was getting close to the end, so it felt slow going.

Along that same vein, I didn't feel very connected to the characters. The story, as I mentioned, is told in third person, so you were never inside a character's head, at least not really. There were a couple of glimpses, but not enough to feel fully involved.

The other issue I had with this book, was that I never really got a sense of the passage of time. The girls are born, so time then I got, but as they got older, they seemed to jump from 10, 7 and 6 to 20, 17 and 16 in a matter of chapters. I'm still not sure if this is what happened, but that's just how it felt. Granted, there were dates at the top of each chapter, but really, I wasn't paying attention to those, and if I was, I didn't remember the date by the time the next chapter came around. So I suppose there was an attempt to help guide you along the timeline, but I found it didn't really work for me.

Just one other tiny detail, another reviewer mentioned it, and I'm not sure if it was just in the ARC and fixed in the finished book, or it was meant to be that way, but whenever the word 'heart' appeared in the book, it was ALWAYS capitalized. Heart, Heart attack, Heartbreak, etc. At first I didn't mind it, but as the story went on, it just seemed odd. I'm not sure if it was a reference to Lucy's heart condition or what, but I just found it unnecessary.

The last thing I want to talk about is the ending. Specifically the death of a character. I don't know if I just didn't see how serious things were, or if it was down-played, but it was a little out of the blue for me. Everything is going good and then its downhill fast. Next thing you know, its the funeral. I had no idea it was coming, and unfortunately, I was more shocked than sad. I suppose it seems like the likely course of action, but I just felt like there was other stuff happening, and then all of a sudden someone's dead. I just couldn't feel anything other than confusion. Everything was relatively fine, things weren't fantastic, but they weren't portrayed as death-bed bad.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. It did have some heart-felt moments that redeemed it, but in the end, I just don't think I connected enough with it to love it.