This is the first book that I have ever read from Harvey and truth be told, I was not disappointed. He is also responsible for works like The Girl Who Just Disappeared, All She Wants and also The Confusion of Karen Carpenter. To anyone who is still relatively new to Harvey’s style, I think that this book is a great one to start with.
In all honesty, I did have a bit of a trouble reading through the first part of the novel (about 100- 150 pages long) mainly because this part consists of alternating chapters, written from the points of view of Natalie and her children; Owen, 21 and Cally, 16. I found this jumping from one perspective and voice to another is quite abrupt and unsettling, if only Harvey found a way to lessen the huge effect of transition, it may be easier for readers to indulge deeper into the story. Nonetheless, I still made it my personal goal to give this book a chance, and I was not disappointed.
The first part of the book is all set in the present day discussing the lives of Natalie and her kids after Danny disappeared five years ago. From Owen’s point of view, it is understood that he is facing some troubles with his relationship with Matty, his boyfriend. Cally on the other hand is given the chance of a lifetime to pursue a possible modelling career. Natalie who has just moved into a house in Oaktree estate is also facing her own problems with her nosy and crazy neighbors. Little did they all know that soon enough, their new found norm would be shaken with shocking truths, complicated problems and possible hurt.
In part two is when all the action begins and a few questions that were running in mind found their answers. Even though a lot of things were still a mystery for me as a reader, it also made me feel connected with the characters as they eventually unravel the truth behind Danny’s disappearance, at least they think they did. Part two heavily revolves around Danny’s life story up until the point of his disappearance. At first I loathed this character after what I have found out about him but soon enough, I learned to understand his poor decision making skills, his personal dilemma and also his questionable set of morals. What I did admire about his character is how he was brought up under incredibly difficult circumstances and how he ended up from being a boy who sold drugs and sex on the streets to becoming a quite successful club owner.
In order to answer all of my burning questions, I kept on reading up to the point that I realized I was already at the end of the book. The ending to me was certainly heart wrenching and depressing, I understand if Harvey wanted to provide a more realistic and plausible ending but a big part of me wanted to believe that sometimes a typical and cliché ending is more fulfilling. Nevertheless I enjoyed the book thoroughly as it was a rollercoaster of emotions that I sometimes find myself on the edge of my seat and I meant that in more literal sense. I do not intend to dive deeper into the details as I do not want to give out spoilers, not even the smallest details. All I can say is Harvey is certainly is a genius in his own style and this book will certainly leave a long lasting impression on me, looking to reading more from him.
For this week’s prompt,
“Would you read this material again? Why/Why not?”
I would certainly reread this book again, without a doubt. The reason behind this is because I believe that a good book can change you. And believe me this book is great. With that said, every time I read a book no matter how many times I have read it before, I find myself forming new opinions on different characters and it is as if that I can delve more into what makes them who they are. Discovering and relearning all the fundamental basis of a character surely changes how you perceive them and I would certainly love to get to know this character on a more personal level.
As always, thank you so much for reading. I hope that you find this review helpful and I apologize if you found the lack of details on specific events confusing at times. Enjoy indulging in Harvey’s masterful writing, cheerios!