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Stories Like This Don’t Need a Happily-Ever-After

The transition from one phase of life to the other is an end in itself!

Thank you KatieandBreyPA and the author for sharing their ARC for me to enjoy. The review features my own unabridged opinions only.

Among Other Things, by Olivia Simons is not a romantic comedy. It is a tragedy through and through.

Writing fiction with dialogue without quotation marks is a stylistic choice and whether it makes the reading experience richer or more inconvenient is a matter of subjective opinion. So my rating does not take into account that I found it jarring at times to keep up with the story when I was uncertain whether I was reading narration or quotation.

The protagonist, Marlene is a recovered addict, who gets pregnant by a married man she was having an affair with. The man’s reaction is textbook. But before she can take any decision, the news of her mother dying sends shockwaves to her existence.

Back in her hometown, we journey with her and her twin sister Grace, through the one week between their mother’s death and the funeral, where eighty percent of the story takes place, and are greeted with waves of guilt, remorse, heartache, pain, unyielding love, forgiveness and an endless barage of tears.

Beware, this story may be too tragic for a casual reader.

Olivia has crafted a realistic world with people you can believe to exist somewhere. Shallow people, sad people, normal people, and people with such motherly love their presence would make you want to curl up in their lap and close your eyes and forget your woes.

On the other hand, there is hardly anything else going on in the story, so it does run a risk of feeling monotonous, hence my rating.

This novel is a women’s fiction, through and through. In that there’re very few male characters in the story, and those characters don’t get much to do, either.

So there is a notable lack of depth from a man’s perspective. But again, it stands true for the genrè, and is not a fault of the book.

I really liked that Marle and Grace, though polar opposite characters, one well put together, calm, composed and mature, while the other is erratic, impulsive and downright selfish at times, are brought together in grief and tragedy which both of them feel at their own levels. The sisters’ connection is the driving force of this story and would not have worked if both of them weren’t having issues of their own-apart from their mother’s death.

Overall, this is a story of overcoming grief and moving on, knowing what was past would never be completely gone, but linger on and shape our future.

My rating does not take into account the typos, formatting and other errors which are inherent to most ARCs and will assuredly be dealt with before the final publishing.

Recommended for mature readers, not for sex but for the mature themes of pregnancy, loss of employment, marital issues, and so many of the day to day things we find ourselves entangled with in LIFE. Must read for women.

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