Carol N. (San Jose, CA)
The Stuff . . .
I can’t say I loved every minute of Maddie Dawson’s “The Stuff That Never Happened.” At times it made this reviewer step back, much like the author’s middle-aged heroine, Annabelle. I, too, can identify with the longing for yesterday’s romance. This slow moving character drama flits back and forth between the present and the past, answering the questions. ... Will she leave her husband? Will he leave his wife?
I didn’t have an easy time getting into it, until I finished the first 100 or more pages, then I was hooked and needed to know how it would end. Longing for the one that got away is a common theme in literature, but Maddie Dawson writes with a particular honesty that makes her characters very real and convincing.
Marcia S. (Hendersonville, NC)
Complexity of relationships
With 'The Stuff That Never Happened', Dawson offers a story that should appeal mostly to women of 30 plus but mature young adults could well benefit from the insight that parents did have a life that took place before children came along and they too dealt with ageless issues relationships bring. The marriage of young Annabelle to Grant and how betrayal directed the course of their relationship and future perspectives made for a thought-provoking read. Actions can have far reaching consequences. Should generate good conversations with book clubs.
Dotty G. (Roswell, GA)
The Stuff That Never Happened
This book is a fun, engaging read. The main character, Annabelle, is witty, complex, and at times, naive. Annabelle's relationships with her mother and daughter add another interesting dimension to the plot. This book should be of particular interest to women like me who grew up during the seventies. Although somewhat predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.
Mary P. (Bellingham, WA)
The stuff that never happened
Maddie Dawson's "The Stuff that Never Happened" is first and foremost, an enjoyable read. The author can turn a phrase and encapsulate feelings in few words, often humorously. Because it is written in first person, and definitely from a woman's point of view, I think the audience will probably be limited to women--especially those who have tried to understand "love" in some of its permutations. And if the reader has been in a similar situation, the novel speaks with even more empathy.
Carrie D-L. (Albany, NY)
A thoughtful, but uneven, look at a modern marriage
"The Stuff That Never Happened" starts off well. I adored the first chapter; it was smart, funny and a good introduction to the character. Then the novel begins flipping back and forth between 2005, when Anabelle and Grant's marriage is floundering with their children now grown, and 1977, when they met. Initially, this alternation helps build suspense and provide an interesting take on the characters. As the novel progresses, however, it starts to fall flat because it becomes more obvious what must happen. The characters begin to fall flat as suspense evaporates.
There are strengths to this novel. Dawson writes conversation quite well, and it is a fast read. I imagine fans of women's fiction will enjoy this thoughtful, but uneven, take on a modern marriage.
Tricia L. (Auburn, WA)
Well-written, but we've seen this before
This is one of the better books about choices and waking up to find ourselves in a position we now are not sure we want to be in. I love the author's writing and the voice is strongly compelling. I don't tend to want to read yet another book about this subject, but this one kept me reading.
Rosario D. (South El Monte, CA)
A great look at how the choices we make today will affect the outcome of tomorrow. I loved reading this book. I found it easy to connect with Annabelle and found that many of her emotions have mirrored mine in the past year. A Great Read.