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I was reluctant to listen to this story, because I knew going into the book that Shannon and Madison had a relationship that ended, and now they're encountering each other again after many years apart. I don't usually enjoy stories like this. The whole first part of the book is Shannon relating the story of her first love to her best friends before she moves back to her home town. This may have been one of the sweetest stories about first love that I've ever read. And it was torture, because we knew it would end, and how could it end well? I kept hoping I'd get to that point soon, because the sooner we knew their pain, the sooner they could meet again. I wanted to rip the band-aid off and get to the good stuff already.
I didn't have much sympathy for Madison. We're talking about someone who's almost forty years old who is still allowing decisions that she doesn't like to be made for her. Grow a pair! And part of me thinks Shannon was a doormat for just taking it. But beneath the cynic within me beats the heart of a romantic, so I loved when Madison finally woke up and took a good look around.
One final thing that I didn't like was the fact that Shannon let her friendship with Charlotte and Tracy go so easily. If you were good enough friends to tell them things you've never told another living soul, I wouldn't expect you to just tank the relationship like it didn't matter in the first place.
At the end of the book, I found that I enjoyed it, and that's a tribute to Hill's skill at telling a tale, because I didn't expect to like it much at all.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about At Seventeen?
That the story started with the girls when they were 17 then made them come full circle to adult woman and all they were dealing with, I loved that Madison had to deal with her parents, her estranged husband, her son, the growing feeling toward her childhood lover and she did the smart thing and decides she doesn't want to just have an affair, friendship is welcome but until her divorcee is final she is only interested in friendship because that is all she can manage at the time. And it's fair to ever one. Madison knows she needs to get act together before she can give her heart 100% to another. And that the only way she wants it.
What did you like best about this story?
Mostly what I said above, but that there was a lot of background on each girls families. I liked learning about Madison's super smart young son off at college, I liked the picture of her mother (Jerk 1) Husband (Jerk 2) and her father, I liked learning about Shannon and mother and brother. It was nice to have family support in a book. Not just those books with, you family hates because your gay, you must make your own family and never have a mother/brother/uncle or aunt show up and embarrass you in a story, It was refreshing.
Which character – as performed by Carly Robins – was your favorite?
Madison- I related to her the best, what it;s like to not be able to say no and to do it for so many years it just builds up. Only for me it was at work not at home but I could totally relate and to have someone telling you what to do every second of the time until you can't breathe, been there done that, not fun.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Two woman separated by time and circumstance, Brought together by love and chance, will they take the leap, or live in hell.
Any additional comments?
Hill is to me the second best lesbian romance writer topped by only Radclyffe, and then only just. Hill is amazing, she can make the same old story sound new, and the new sound amazing. In this jumping back and forth from 17 to the present, she wines and dine us on gourmet food. all the while making you want to eat more and more. Save room for dessert.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
I say unbalanced because I felt the start was too long (or needed more depth to sustain it) and it didn't really hook me into the story. The first ten or so chapters being different encounters as the childhood friendship then love grew until Madison is married. I think I didn't like this so much because the character interacts included very few normal activities. I understand this is because of their situation, but I would have liked more life events above the intimacy, e.g. a bully or at school, dealing with a crises at home, saving a raccoon from a ... I don't know.
The middle was more interesting as with the main characters getting on with their lives, and facing up to fears, confronting each other. But end felt rushed and it was odd how her friends for many years were rejected. There were moments where I felt listening to the writer creating the story rather then the story itself; by I mean, there were passages when I felt the they where there to resolve something in the prose rather then be part of the story.
That being said I rated it overall a four, higher then I would normally. This is because Gerri Hill, is a bit of a master of the tear jerker, and brings a lot of emotion into the novel, which she carries forward to a happy ending. The reader's strong emotional engagement and sweetest of the characters marks it up.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
I have read all of Gerri Hill's books, now I am listening on Audio. 'At Seventeen' has a great story-line, and quite heart-rending. A story of rich girl Madison Lansford, and poor girl Shannon Fletcher, with some exceptional secondary, but not unimportant, characters in the form of Shannon’s mother, who is the housekeeper, and Madison’s young, and very wise, intellectual son Ashton. Madison is controlled by her mother who dominates her life, planning her marriage from a young age, and overwhelming her very essence. Madison's husband takes over the role after marriage. Madison and Shannon have loved each other since childhood but it has taken years for Madison to come to terms with who she is, and who she wants that it is heart-breaking the time that is wasted between her and Shannon. I really enjoyed this Audiobook and all of Gerri’s work. Gerri knows how to draw her readers into the story....Carly Robins was outstanding as narrator.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This was a really sweet story which kept me listening all day! I really enjoyed the pace of the book. To have the book start off telling the story of their past which was such a sweet story but also heart breaking as well.
Then we move onto the now and how they are interacting with each other after so many years. We still enjoy really good tension between the two characters you just don’t know when one of them will cave. I thought both characters were really likeable and found yourself sympathising with both of them. I don’t know what is worse being in a marriage with someone you don’t want to touch or being unable to move on and have the one person you love.