The Forever Girl
by Alexander McCall Smith
Published: 2/11/14 by Knopf Doubleday
Format: Advanced Reader Copy
2.5 out of 5 stars
Forever Girl follows the love stories (or perhaps lack of love
stories?) of a mother and daughter. Amanda, the mother, who has been
married for years with two children, slowly realizes that she has fallen
out of love with her husband. Meanwhile her daughter Clover falls in
love with her childhood best friend, but he doesn't seem to feel the
same way about her. That's pretty much the story as this novel follows
them through the years of their lives.
First, I really didn't
like the way Amanda just decided she had fallen out of love with her
husband. She seemed so flippant about the idea, like it wasn't a big
deal at all. And the conversation about it between Amanda and her
husband David felt the same. In the matter of just a few sentences,
they both agreed they didn't love each other and they should separate,
as if neither of them had any sort of feelings at all. It just didn't
feel realistic to me.
I can see how many people would not like
Clover as a character, as she is fairly pathetic in her continual moping
about James and her refusal to move on with her life. I didn't find
this as obnoxious as others have described, and I think I preferred her
story over Amanda's story. But by the end, I was ready to shout at her,
"Either move on or tell him how you feel already!!"
held my interest at times, while at other times I didn't care much what
was happening. Towards the end, Clover goes to Australia and Singapore,
and it was at this point that I thought the book was finally getting
interesting. At least it felt like something was finally going to
happen! Then the book ended. I don't want to spoil the ending, but it
was very sudden and not really that believable based on everything that
had already happened in the book. It kind of felt like Mary Poppins
just walked in and snapped her fingers and everything fell into place.
If Alexander McCall Smith wanted to end his book this way, he should
have written it in more detail to help the readers understand why the
characters were doing what they are doing, which might possibly make it a
more believable and realistic ending.