Tuesday, April 7, 2015

This is your life, Harriet Chance by Jonathan Evison

Format: eGalley
Pages: 304
Series: NA
Source: NetGalley
Genres: General Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Books

Publication date: Expected on September 8, 2015

I asked and received this book through NetGalley for free. This review is not sponsored nor influenced in anyway. Thanks to Algonquin Books for the book.

First impression

It's rare that I get to review books this far ahead from their publishing date, but I was lucky enough to be accepted for This is Your Life, Harriet Chance. Since it's not the final version I will not use any quotes. The reason why I asked for this book was that it had a blurb by Maria Semple, author of Where'd You go, Bernadette, a book I enjoyed. This and the description: an old woman, going on an adventure while confronting her past and her present. I am very happy I asked for the book even if it wasn't as funny as I thought it would be. It has a darker tone than Bernadette and while this is not a bad thing, I came to the book with a different expectation. But I grew fond of Harriet and fell for the jumping in time narrative.

Final thoughts

As I mentioned, while the book did remind me of Semple's book, probably with the narrative style, this one had for me way less funny sides while keeping a dark humor. The author jumps in time with Harriet, so you can see her as a newborn, a teenager, a newlywed but almost never in a linear narrative. Harriet will be in her cruise cabin at 79 and the next chapter will be a flashback of her first office party in her early 20s.

For most of the book, the reader is kept in the dark about Harriet's past, only getting tiny glimpses that she herself is revisiting. Some things (big things that I won't give away, because spoilers) will be revealed at the same time for the reader and Harriet and so her tone changes a bit, she no longer sounds impassive, like just remembering, but much more emotional.

I kept debating whether this was a 3 or a 4 for me. You see, it was a good read, a fast read, with a lot of things going on but not on a messy way. However, I finally settled for a 3 because I was left with the sensation that something was missing from the end of the story, something that would round up the whole thing better. I hate saying this type of things, because it can sound like I think I could've done better, and that's not what I mean. I can't say what is that thing that feels missing for me, I can only tell you that's the case.
I would definitely recommend this book to others, mostly people who liked the style of Where'd you go, Bernadette and people who enjoy slowly getting to know the main character, by little pieces. 

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