For the first third of this book I was not particularly interested in it. It is the story of a woman and her seemingly perfect family. As is always the way, they are not actually perfect and in fact there is a pretty significant, long-term infidelity situation going on. I know a few people who hate books with infidelity so if that’s you, back slowly away from this book.
The book is also heavy on female friendships, which also seem rather perfect at first. As the story goes on, it becomes clear that what was presented as a tried-and-true, ride-or-die friendship has its own flaws and that each of the people involved in it are imperfect.
As I said, I wasn’t initially particularly interested in the story. The writing was fine – though not jaw-dropping – but the story seemed to be going to very predictable places and I just couldn’t bring myself to care. And then! It took some serious twists and turns and I found myself thinking about this book constantly when I wasn’t reading it.
There are a lot of books out there that celebrate female friendship and I think a lot of people would read this book and feel strongly that it doesn’t fall into that category. I disagree. Yes, it details the ways in which friends can disappoint each other, and yes it deals with some truly unthinkable things people can do to each other, but it felt very realistic to me.
I was impressed that the author didn’t shy away from characters who were complex and imperfect. I was impressed that she prominently featured a character that a lot of people would be irritated by, because clearly she should have left the situation she was in. Yet, in real life, it’s often impossible to know when to really leave. You have a family with someone and they swear it won’t happen again and you want to believe them, or you’ll leave tomorrow, or you just need to wait until xyz. I appreciate that this book really showed what that process is like and that it isn’t as simple as some people may think it is.
Recommended for: Fans of complicated relationships; fans of stories about infidelity; fans of stories with no easy answer
Does it pass the Bechdel–Wallace test? Yes
Author of color / main character of color / female author / female main character: Yes / yes / yes / yes – This has been true of every box I’ve received from them. Good job!