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The story is taboo, and it takes twists and turns through the psyche of a disturbed woman and her misguided romance. It is very well written! The narration, however, has the pace, cadence, and tone of an anchor reading the evening news. It sounds forced and artificial. The book in print would be better because the reader will imagine the characters with different voices rather than hearing how Monica Reed used the same voice register and speech patterns for all characters and the narrator alike.
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This book wasn’t as salacious as the title led me to believe. I think the age difference didn’t bother me as much as I thought. I finished this audiobook in one day. It was like watching an episode of reality tv---a train wreck that you can’t avert your eyes from. I found myself shaking my head in disbelief, but I was also enjoying it so much. I can see how this is a touchy subject for some people but I liked the romance.
Joanne has been a military wife for most of her marriage and her husband Chad’s increasing distance (emotionally and physically) has left her feeling restless and bored. When her 16-year-old daughter needed tutoring, Joanne hired 17-year-old Alex to get her daughter up to speed. What began as harmless flirting quickly turned into more. But there is a lot at stake, Joanne’s marriage to Chad, her daughter’s crush on Alex, the effects on all of her children, Alex’s family, financial stability and possible legal implications.
I have to say normally I would frown upon this behavior but this situation was truly complicated. The characters were all flawed and complex, yet at the root of it all was a need for attention, love and admiration. Joanne went so long not coping with her issues that she was in badly need of affection. For an overwhelmed wife and mother, nothing could be worse than a husband’s indifference. The situation was ripe for a cleanup man. Alex wasn’t a typical 17-year-old, he was more mature because of his family situation and he seemed to truly care about Joanne. It wasn’t an ideal situation but it was one that anyone married to an inattentive partner could understand.
I enjoyed their tryst but I was surprised that Joanne expected more mature behavior from Alex when she clearly didn’t exhibit mature behavior a lot. I found her behavior as selfish as her daughter but not as bad as Chad’s apathy. I was anticipating the major conflict, but not the ending of the story. I am not quite sure I enjoyed the ending, but there was some realness to the rage, hurt, and conclusion.
The writing was very entertaining. I’ve read other books by this author and this one was my favorite so far. The narrator didn’t really add to my enjoyment, but she didn’t detract from it either. She delivered the story but the author’s prose and storytelling was the main standout in this book. I hope to read more like this one from the author in the future.