Author: Judith Claire Mitchell
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Summary: Although I enjoyed the writing and characters in this book, the plot was incredibly bland.
This is the story of four generations of an unlucky family full of tragedy and suicides, culminating with the current generation of three sisters writing a shared suicide note. The sisters have grown up in a gloomy atmosphere, steeped in the knowledge of their family’s sad history. Each sister has experienced her own fair share of personal tragedy as well. After Lady’s divorce, she’s had trouble finding meaningful relationships and fears anything outside her lonely routine. Vee has lost her husband and has recently learned that her cancer has returned despite aggressive treatment. And the youngest, Delph, has barely lived, with no romantic relationships or career aspirations to speak of. All of this has lead to them to start the shared memoir/suicide note which is this story.
The writing in this book and the unique characters both appealed to me. It seems to me that almost every main character in a book has some redeeming quality that the reader might also want to have or they at least live an exciting life. The sisters in this story, especially from their own perspective, have none of these things. They’re down on their luck in almost every way possible and they see themselves as unattractive and antisocial. Their lives are humdrum and ordinary. They each have interesting quirks and, of course, they each have their own trials and tribulations to deal with.
I liked the writing for several reasons. There was a very wry humor throughout, which was both less gallows humor and more thoughtful than I expected. The word choices were spot on and despite the lack of action in most of the story, the writing flowed in a way that gave the story constant forward motion. Even so, the plot was almost completely free of any action. Nothing exciting happened. Sure, there were the family suicides, which were dramatic, but also expected from the very beginning. Other than that, I felt like everything that happened was just daily life. Most of the story took place in the past and so lacked urgency, but even when the story read as the present, the events described were very mundane. Although the writing meant I generally enjoyed this reading experience and I would give the author another chance, the plot was essentially nonexistent.
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