Is it possible to read a book while ugly crying?
This is a question I posted on an Amazon Kindle review of O-bitch-uary. A review which, sadly, isn’t on the website. (What the hell Amazon! You want me to review all these books I read and then you don’t even post them?) That might be one of the reasons I started this blog- the absence of posted reviews of books I read, but I digress.
The answer is yes. It’s hard but it’s possible. One only needs to keep a wad of tissues in one’s hands to continually wipe away tears and blow noses. Remember, ugly crying.
This book is the first for author Ticia Rani and damn, it’s hit out of the park. Full disclaimer. I am friends with the author but even so, I hope you’ll ignore that and believe that I am absolutely not padding this review because of that.
I was tentative in the beginning as this book has a few things I (personally) am not a huge fan of. First person dialogue (Even though I obsessively read the Laurel K Hamilton Anita Blake series), sad stories dealing with life-threatening illnesses (John Greene, I’m looking at you!) and not really happy endings. I’m a fluffy bunny, I like happy endings.
Reading is my escape method, I want happy endings.
I mention my disclosure because fifty pages into this book and I was trying to figure out how I was going to tell the author that while her book was good it wasn’t for me. I hated Olivia, the main character. I hated her sister-in-law Molly. How the hell was I supposed to feel any sort of empathy for a character I couldn’t stand? Because, like the book’s title states, Liv is a huge bitch.
Fifty more pages in and all of that changed. Not Liv, she remains her glorious bitchy self throughout the entire book. Rather the tone of the story changes and suddenly the reader understands why Liv is a bitch, why she acts like she does and suddenly, you’re rooting for this character you couldn’t stand in the beginning. Two of the characters because suddenly Molly isn’t that bad either. Up is down, left is right, everything is all confused. If you couldn’t tell from the book’s cover, the book is about breast cancer. Olivia’s breast cancer. And one of the most heartbreaking scenes in this book is in the middle when she has to tell her two daughters that she’s been diagnosed.
Look, you can’t see me but I’m tearing up again writing this review!
As I posted on my review (where is it Amazon!) the reason this book works and isn’t just emotional porn is because the main character isn’t perfect. She isn’t happy and fluffy and “oh why did this happen to me?” type of person. She’s the one who sends out snarky Facebook messages about neighbors she hasn’t seen dropping covered dishes of food onto her front porch. She’s the one who is lusting after her gynecologist and then gets pissed when one of her friends starts dating him. She’s the one who is screaming at her husband who’s screaming right back and they’re both taking turns to see who can get drunk enough to pretend this isn’t really happening. But it’s also about a mom who loves her teen daughters so much that she taxes herself to make sure she spends enough time with both of them in her limited time. It’s about a woman who is still in love with her husband after all these years and is struggling to find a way to connect with him in her limited time. It’s about knowing who your friends are when you are absolutely kicked to the ground. Spoilers, it’s never who you think.
This story is painfully real. The characters are real with flaws and mistakes and you feel something for each of them, be it good or bad. The final fifty to seventy-five pages of this book, I read while ugly crying. My heart hurt for everyone. I had questions and in the end, they didn’t matter. Because this is Olivia’s story and she gets to tell it any damn way she chooses.
I’ve no idea what I’m doing for my next book, so it’ll be a surprise to all of us friends. So in the meantime, curl up and enjoy a good book.