3.5 stars (I liked it quite a bit).
I waffled whether to give this 3 or 4 stars. I generally don’t like half stars, but sometimes it’s merited. The thing is, what this book does well, it REALLY does well. And most of the reasons I didn’t rate it higher were personal, not the fault of the author.
I actually bought a hard copy of this book because my library didn’t have it as an audiobook and I wanted to read it so badly I shelled out some of my limited spending money for it when it went on sale. I loved the cover, the title, and the hype it was getting on Twitter. I knew next to nothing about it beyond that.
Here are some of the things it does well:
- It depicts mental illness with accuracy and grace. It doesn’t sensationalize it or soften it. The MC’s mother’s schizophrenia is scary and dangerous and sometimes subtle too, and always complex.
- It doesn’t present too-simplistic solutions for really hard problems.
- It really put me into the setting. The unbearable heat the whole way through was like another character, and I almost felt as if I was sweating, even though I read this in the springtime.
- Each relationship was developed gently and organically. The characters felt real.
- The prose is gorgeous.
For these reasons, I feel this is an important book. For me personally, sometimes it felt a little . . . cute. And the plot meandered maybe more than I care for. At times I felt slightly bored and unsure where it was going.
But if literary books about important themes are your jam, I’ll bet money you’ll like this one.