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Or that other platitude applies: "we make plans and God laughs".The premise of this book is either the epitome of micromanagement from the grave, or the best way to take care of your loved ones after you're "gone", i.e. dead. Only trouble with that idea is that what if you get waylaid on the way to your funeral, and get to live, and actually see your spouse hook up with someone else?
I love unusual hypotheticals like this, books that explore the "what if" factor. That's one of the reasons I read, to find out what happens when you stir the pot, test an alternative idea or two, get stuck in a tree and then try and get down.
I can see the sense in the idea from the children's perspective - why not interview your prospective replacement and make sure your family is kept intact, loved and cared for, and continues as before? But the thing is, people tend to have minds of their own, and what if your spouse takes the problem off your hands and you lose control of the plan?
The only fault I can find here is that some of the plot lines were way too detailed, and I couldn't make myself care about all the minor characters and their stories. Goudge does a good job of keeping it all under narrative control, but I kept wanting her to go back to what I thought was the "main" story, and became impatient with some of the meandering.
Anyway, I'll close with another platitude: be careful what you wish for.
20 of 22 people found this review helpful
My goodness this was a long book filled with numbingly unnecessary details. I was attracted to the book for its premise, but I was unable to connect with the characters because I found the writing stilted and self conscious – I doubt the author ever met an adjective she didn’t like. The dialogue resembled the arch and self-aware conversations between soap opera characters, which this plot (for me) resembled. A major flaw was the habit of darting down rabbit trails in the form of overly detailed back stories on minor characters whom we see in a single scene and never again, and who do nothing to progress the storyline. It felt as though Ms. Goudge tried to make the characters real by sheer weight of information, when finding a way to portray their hearts would have done. A strong editor was needed to trim this down to size.
Accentuating the disappointing writing was the reading by Susan Boyce. If a reading style had posture, this story was told with the upright posture of a whaleboned corset. When Camille's husband's shoulders slumped in discouragement, it was pronounced with hearty "can do" determination. Boyce pronounced every word with the clipped precision of an elocution teacher, constantly inserting little micro pauses commonly used by TV news magazine reporters for ear catching emphasis. Ok for a news story, but ineffective in creating empathy for a character. Would have been better to read in print.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful