This book was very character-driven, with very little action going on, and that’s what I really like in a book, so I loved all the backstory. I didn’t really like any of the characters themselves, because they were all very selfish and unwilling to confront their problems, but I did like the way they were introduced and portrayed throughout the book.
I couldn’t relate to the events in the story because my family is incredibly boring compared to the Lees, but I could understand the way that they all had their own secrets, things they didn’t want to share. They acted as though they were just a normal, happy family, but they never talked about important things, or about anything, for that matter.
The one thing that bothered me was the relationship between Lydia and Nath. They act like they’re really close, but they both have a lot going on that they don’t ever discuss. This plays into the idea that everyone in the family is hiding something, but I guess I just couldn’t understand it because I confide in my siblings; I can’t imagine not having anyone in your family you can talk to, especially when you have all been discriminated against, as this family had.
Some people have said they didn’t enjoy this book because it romanticized suicide, and in a way, it did. However, it also captured the reality of life after losing a loved one to suicide. The style of the story, in which so much of the family’s past was told in snippets throughout the book helps the reader understand what may have driven Lydia to do what she did, and reveal just how truly complicated families can be.
In the end, this book was pretty good. It was slow, but it kept me engaged the whole time, and I read it in only a couple of days. It’s not the best book I’ve read this year, but it was an interesting look at a complicated family.