Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Things I Want my Daughter to Know - Elizabeth Noble

You can summarise the plot of this quite quickly. How a family deals with the loss of their mother. Barbara dies leaving her four daughters, Lisa, Jennifer, Amanda and Hannah to manage without her. Each daughter has her own issues to deal with, and has only her sisters, her(step) father and her mother's letters to help her through. Knowing that she is dying Barbara has written letters for her daughters, that she hopes will help them in later life.
Lisa is scared of commitment, Jennifer's marriage seems to be falling apart, Amanda is a traveller, unable to settle down anywhere and Hannah is still young, struggling to deal with the loss of her mother and the teenage rebellious years at the same time. Add to this Mark who is trying to help his step daughters and understand his teenage daughters, as well as trying to deal with the loss of his wife and you have quite a simple set up.
This is the second time that I'm saying I struggled to keep two of the characters clear in my head, for some reason I struggled to keep Lisa and Jennifer straight. Amanda and Hannah were very clear characters with their own personalities and issues to deal with. I felt that Lisa and Jennifer could easily have been merged into one character, despite the fact that they're supposedly dealing with very different problems, it all seemed the same to be somehow.
I think I struggled with this book because I struggled to like most of the characters. Hannah was a brat, granted she was a teenager and I'm sure most of us were brats at some point but that's my defining memory of her, she was a brat. Jennifer and Lisa, were also mostly brats, and I struggled to respect the decisions that they made. Amanda I probably liked the most, but even she wasn't exactly a positive character, a woman who runs away when she doesn't know what to do.
I did quite like Mark, the man trying to hold everything together through the loss of his own wife, but even some of his choices and decisions seemed puzzling to me, and I couldn't always respect what he did or why he did it.

I made it to the end of the book, but it took me quite a long time, I kept losing interest and putting the book down, then coming back to it for a while, then getting bored again, before eventually using it as the book I read on my break on lunch at work then taking it on holiday to finish. I think I just didn't warm to the characters and so didn't really care about what happened to them, and I couldn't understand most of the decisions that they made.


Bea said...

Is that frustrating? Sounds like a great premise for a good story and then have unappealing characters is such a letdown.

Heather said...

I hate books where I can't keep the characters straight. I know your frustration!