Monday, November 11, 2019

So-So Family Drama Clunky, But Ultimately Compelling

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Trying to write my own plot summary for If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman is not going well, so here's the back cover version:

For fans of This Is Us comes a story of a family divided and the secret that can possibly unite them – a life-affirming novel with a twist will break your heart and an ending that will put it together again. 

 A secret between two sisters.
A lifetime of lies unraveling.
Can one broken family find their way back to each other?

Audrey’s dream as a mother had been for her daughters, Jess and Lily, to be as close as only sisters can be. But now, as adults, they no longer speak to each other, and Audrey’s two teenage granddaughters have never met. Audrey just can’t help feeling like she’s been dealt more than her fair share as she’s watched her family come undone over the years, and she has no idea how to fix her family as she wonders if they will ever be whole again.

If only Audrey had known three decades ago that a secret could have the power to split her family in two, and yet, also keep them linked. And when hostilities threaten to spiral out of control, a devastating choice that was made so many years ago is about to be revealed, testing this family once and for all.
Once the truth is revealed, will it be enough to put her family back together again or break them apart forever? 

This novel has gotten really mixed reviews.  My reaction falls somewhere in the middle—I didn't love it, I didn't hate it.  The book's a sad, depressing read that tries to cover a lot of territory in a relatively short space.  The tackling of such heavy subject matter, combined with a slow-building plot and characters that are immature and not all that likable, results in a story that is clunky, but ultimately compelling.  Beckerman strings the reader along with promises of a juicy secret to be revealed.  And I totally took the bait.  Even though I saw the Big Reveal coming, I still wanted to know for sure, a curiosity that kept me reading.  Overall, though, I found If Only I Could Tell You to be just an okay read. 

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (no F-bombs) and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of If Only I Could Tell You from the generous folks at William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins) in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

2 comments:

  1. I find it difficult to write reviews for books that I don't feel strongly about. I don't want to trash it, but don't want to give too high of praise either.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sad and depressing read? Sounds perfect. Lol. Just kidding. Sometimes it is equally tough to write a review about a book that made you feel relatively meh than a book that you love.

    ReplyDelete

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