The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty was our book club book this month. One thing I love and kind of hate about book club is I end up reading books I normally wouldn’t read. This is one of those books.
I started The Rest of Her Life a couple weeks before our book club meeting. It happened to be during a week my kiddo and I were struggling. Struggling to understand, listen and be compassionate with one another. As I opened this book and saw my relationship with my daughter reflected in the pages I didn’t think I’d be able to read it. I put the book down, and started reading Paper Towns (review coming shortly).
My mom called the night before book club to make sure I was coming and holy smokes, I’d completely forgotten. Being the kind of person who likes to follow the rules I sat down and started reading the book. I ended up finishing it the morning of book club. Things had been going a lot better for my kiddo and I, so it was a little easier to take myself out of the book, and focus a bit more on the characters.
And isn’t it interesting, how the same book looks completely different depending on what we’re going through?
This still wasn’t my favorite book I’ve ever read. The characters were flawed, but unlike other books, like The Girl on the Train, they actually had redeeming qualities which made them relatable. The story is about family relationships, but really, it’s about a mom. It’s about a mom, Leigh, who grew up in an awful family, with a mom, who decided when Leigh was 16 she was going to move to California, alone. Leaving Leigh to fend for herself, with some help from her older sister. Through her struggles growing up Leigh promised herself, dreamed about, and visioned the kind of mother she would be when she had kids.
Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. While Leigh had big dreams for motherhood, her dreams weren’t her reality (and isn’t that SO TRUE for all moms?!).
A tragic event in the family brings the strain in all the relationship of the family out in the open. You can see the pain and the struggle as Leigh tries to be the mom she wants to be, but just doesn’t know how. There is, of course, a turning point, and relationships change. There’s a good twist at the end, and it wasn’t really a bad read. The book is told from only one point of view. The cover has Jodi Picoult’s name all over it, and her review on the back. Maybe I was expecting to hear the story from more than one person’s point of view, since that’s what Jodi does, but I didn’t. I think it would have enhanced the story immensely.
What made me almost move my review from 3 to 4 stars was book club. The discussion we had about the book, the characters, and our own lives made me like the book a little more as the hour went on. If you choose to read this book, I’d definitely do it in a book club setting, to get into the deeper conversations of the book.