Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Forever Girl

The Forever Girl
by Alexander McCall Smith

Genre:  Fiction
Published:  2/11/14 by Knopf Doubleday
Pages:  320
Format:  Advanced Reader Copy

My rating:
2.5 out of 5 stars

The 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!!"

This story 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.

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