The End of Loneliness by Benedict Wells: Book Review

The End of Loneliness  by Benedict Wells
Published: Jan 29 by Penguin Books
272 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy on Amazon

 

From Publisher: A kaleidoscopic family saga told through the fractured lives of the three Moreau siblings alongside a faltering, recovering love story, The End of Loneliness is a stunning meditation on the power of our memories, of what can be lost and what can never be let go.

My Thoughts: I love family sagas so I had high hopes for this character driven exploration of fate, life, and love but by the halfway point I fizzled out on the story. This is the story of Jules, Marty and Liz, 3 siblings who weather their first tragedy when their parents are killed when they’re all still under 16 (Not a spoiler, this is in book jacket description). They’re sent to a boarding school and I must say, the author did a fantastic job of portraying the depth of sadness that all 3 experienced because, as we learned from the beginning of the story, they were close with their parents and had a happy family life. Jules is the narrator and while I liked him, it did create a situation where I didn’t feel like I got to know or understand the story from Liz and Marty’s perspectives which I would’ve liked. Especially Liz as she really struggled after their parents were killed.

I appreciated the author’s ability to wax philosophical on fate, chance and how one’s life course can be completely altered by both. However, by the halfway mark I wanted more from the story. Not a whole lot was happening outside of us getting life updates on each as the years go by. We know Jules has been in a motorcycle accident and I did wonder what contributed to that situation but I found myself skimming for the second half of the book. I liked the ending but overall, I just wanted more…more drama, conflict, tension…something. But the writing is great and if you like slower, philosophical, character explorations this would be for you.

Thanks to Penguin Books for my copy via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review 

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom: Book Review

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven  By Mitch Albom
Publication: October 9th by Harper
224 Pages
Affiliate LinkBuy on Amazon 

From Publisher: In this enchanting sequel to the number one bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie’s heavenly reunion with Annie—the little girl he saved on earth—in an unforgettable novel of how our lives and losses intersect.

My Thoughts: I can’t believe it’s been 15 years since Mitch Albom published The Five People You Meet in Heaven ! That book has always stuck with me so I wouldn’t have guessed it’s been that long. In The Next Person You Meet in Heaven , Albom tells Annie’s story, the little girl Eddie (who was killed) saved one day at an amusement park. If you haven’t read the first book I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely necessary as Albom does a really good job of providing some backstory in this one but I do think my reading enjoyment was greater having read the first one. I actually realized I remembered more about the first book than I thought.

Obviously, if we’re getting Annie’s story you know something has happened to her for her to end up in heaven. I loved that Album starts the story with Annie’s story while she’s still alive, it allowed me to get to know her as she was but also created suspense because I knew what was going to eventually happen but Annie didn’t…and I really liked her! Albom structures the story alternating brief glimpses of Annie’s childhood with her journey in heaven and I LOVED this! I was equally invested in both parts of the story because of how Albom created interconnections. That may seem like a vague reason but you’ll understand when you read the story.

A couple other things really stood out to me: Albom’s creative vision of heaven and the fact that he can sneak a twist into a story when I least expected it. Well done. This book is the perfect length for a one sit read but, honestly, I would’ve loved for it to be longer and I don’t often say that about a book. I’m still thinking about parts of this story days later, especially Albom’s take on fate in our lives

Had he taken the truck, this story would be different. Had the limousine driver remembered to bring a bag that was sitting by his apartment door, this story would be different. The tale of your life is written second by second, as shifting as the flip of a pencil to an eraser

If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming, bittersweet story that just might give you much to contemplate, give this a try. My last advice: have tissues handy!

Many thanks to HarperCollins via Netgalley for my copy