Tuesday, 30 July 2013

This is How it Ends. Claire Bear's First Book Review

This is how it ends” Review
Kathleen MacMahon

Addie, Bruno, Lola. Della, Simon and the kids. Hugh. The author of This is How it EndsKathleen MacMahon, has created a wonderful story with these characters which was truly tragic yet heart-warming and endearingI’ll not bore you with a synopsis for two reasons; A – you can go read this anywhere, whether it be the back of the book or online for a more thorough account of what happens and; B – because I hate it when people devour the entire book in a way which often destroys the magic of reading the story yourself. Anyway, I became engaged with these characters right from the offsetAs Addie’s story developed, I truly felt for her. MacMahons fantastic ability to detail a situation so clearly, yet keep the specifics from the reader captured and held my interest throughout the book.

Whilst reading, I was worried in which way MacMahon would take the story. I was not much interested in Bruno’s focus yet could see so much potential for Addie’s story. I was very pleased to discover the way in which the story was steered and in which Bruno ended up as part of the family; the thing he was actually looking for all along.

I very much enjoyed the way specific details were kept from the reader until the point in which they would make the biggest impactIt was easy for the reader to rely on their imagination to understand. The baby. The test. The devastation that he never loved her. All this came gradually, yet the impact was not lessened when the details were revealed.

Another instance of this writing style was when Addie was diagnosed. It took a further two chapters specifically state Addie’s condition. As a reader, I understood the weight and seriousness at the first mention. It was a life and death situation. I think the big ‘C’ came to all our minds hereThe way in which MacMahon constructed these chapters really gripped me and I was unable to put the book down. Without having conformation of what I thought was Addie’s diagnosis, I had to keep reading. I had to knowThis style captured my interest with many aspects throughout the story. The language and writing style reflected the story-line perfectlyEspecially how the language developed towards the end. Shorter sentences, simpler language. Not only did this mirror this progress of the story, but complemented it and really brought home what was happening.

As I said earlier, I did not like Bruno’s story and was worried that I might not enjoy the book if this turned out to be the main focus. I was therefore very glad to see his family tree hunt became less important as his relationship developed with Addie. By the end of the book I was in love with their relationshipI still thought it was wired they were second cousins though.

The character in which I really adored and admired was Della. I loved her presence. She has four little tear-away children and they run the house! It’s clear that Della puts her all into her family.
 It’s understandable that she sometimes envy’s Addie’s freedom and lifestyle. “I love to have people around me”, yet,It’s hell. But it’s an investment in the future, you have to believe it will be worth it in the years to come.” I love the attitude she has to her life, the way she makes it her own.” “It was Della who answered the door. She was wearing a black sequined dress that hardly covered her knickers. Black tights,black stiletto heels…her dress was so tight on her that she was having some difficulty getting down. She hitched the skirt up over her hips and hopped off the chair… Della shimmied the dress back down and climbed in to her shoes again.” I love a woman who can do things, even more-so a sexy woman who can do things! 

It’s clear that she’s over-worked, under-praised and under-appreciated, but she gives it her own and her attitude towards life is admirableAnother classic moment for me was when Della’s girls practiced a fire-drill out the window with bed-sheets tied together. I couldn't stop laughing at this!

The presence of Hugh brought in the other side of family-life. He really tied Addie and Della together as sisters. We've all talked about our parents in the way they discussed and dealt with Hugh. A true pain in the arse, but a pain in the arse you love. It was easy to begrudge Hugh for being such a stubborn old man! He failed to tell his daughters many things they needed and deserved.I felt for him when the slow realisation of all his emotions caught up with him, but still could not forgive him as he still would not let his pride go. “And yet, despite all his flaws…there was something heroic about Hugh.”

Addie and Bruno’s love story really was endearing, touching and blossomed well considering the circumstances. Yet I found myself just as, if not more attached to Della and her life within the story. Maybe I have seen someone in which I would like to see myself as in the future? I have to say however, I loved who Addie became on her remaining few healthy days. The wedding, the honeymoon, her carpe diem outlook. She made each and every moment as special as it possibly could beI truly admired her at this stage.

Addie’s ending had me in tears. I couldn't help it, lying on a sun-lounger on a beautiful Greek island with an iced coffee in hand, I was sobbing my eyes out. I’m just glad I had my big shades on! This was tragic, touching and beautiful at the same time. It ended with everyone together as a family. What really added to my distress was the blissfulness that although Lola was no longer there, Addie, in her haven, felt her there in her final moments and everything was perfect.

Having been to Ireland several times myself (not as a tourist either), I could really set the scenes in this book. The mannerisms and characteristics of the various characters had me smiling inside. The language used brought this smile out. I have many happy memories of Ireland and I will miss it dearly.  

This was a good and easy read and I would recommend it to allI really found this a unique and enjoyable reading experience which really touched me.

Here are a few quotes that I really liked:

“Often wrong, seldom in doubt” Simon said (about Della). 

“That kiss could have only have lasted a few seconds. But for Bruno it would be frozen in time. He would carry that kiss with him always.” 

“Oh, you always feel better with the lipstick on… It never fails.” The old ladies in the changing rooms.

“Della and Simon slow-dance in the kitchen late at night when the kids have gone to bed. She knows they have sex on the kitchen table after their dinner guests have gone home.”

“I always wait a while before I open a parcel. Once you open it, the magic is gone.” This is very true.

“It was as if they had met in the transit lounge of an airport. Each of them caught between two worlds, they were just sharing this moment in time.”

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