Ariel F. (Madison, WI)
The Stuff That Never Happened
I had a hard time getting into the novel. The book went back and forth between the present and the past, from the time Annabelle met her husband and then married him etc.
I found the relationships between Annabelle, her mother and her daughter interesting. These relationships touched on the dimensions of relationships that women have over the years and how some things change and some things remain the same.
I feel that it takes a mature person to understand the decisions that Annabelle made and why she might have made them.
Angelina A. (New York, NY)
Not another mid-life crisis
Despite my initial fears that this would be another book about a woman who was experiencing empty nest syndrome, I was pleasantly surprised. Annabelle is such a complex character and a lot of what happens in this novel is what takes place in the secret confines of our minds. It also shows that marriage and love are not always mutually inclusive. A fantastic read.
Claire M. (Hilton Head, SC)
The stuff that never happened
I began to read and thought "oh, no!" but found myself caught up in the story of Annabelle, a young, naive California girl married without a thought in the 70's to Grant, a man of inaccessible emotions. The '70's were a time of sexual and emotional upheaval which created a new drama. The story is told from Annabelle's point of view - and details the complexities inherent in relationships with lovers, spouses, children. Annabelle's costly affair with her husband's closest friend is the elephant in the room for 26 years while she matures, reconciles with Grant and tries to put her life in perspective.
Although I thought Annabelle to be annoyingly naive I grew to understand her well and was surprised by her understanding of relationships and acceptance of self as the story drew to a close.
A really good read and one that perhaps resonates with anyone who has betrayed or been betrayed.
Marti F. (Coralville, IA)
An excellent read! Highly recommended.
I loved this book. Told in the voice of the main character,
Annabelle. The timeline goes back and forth between 1977-'81 and 2005. It deals with choices made in love, promises made and broken, trust and family relationships. I found myself wanting to keep on reading to find out what would happen, not just at the end, but throughout the book. Even through difficult times and self-doubt, Annabelle had a great sense of humor. I am eagerly anticipating the next book by this author.
Nancy F. (Carmel, IN)
Trite maybe, but life often resembles fiction...
I love to read about people and relationships ... all life is, is a tangled web which never ceases to amaze me.
I liked "Stuff.." even though the plot line was at time a bit shallow. I must admit that my personal past experiences during that period of my life made this book come alive for me! I think the author has selected an interesting way for Annabelle to view her life in perspective and with some level of self acceptance and forgiveness which often is missing. It is a surprisingly good read that draws you in, even when you can guess where the story is headed ... read it anyway.
Marjorie H. (Bedford, TX)
Stuff and Nonsense
I should have known that a book with the word "Stuff" in the title would be just that - "Stuff." This book goes beyond chick books and fairy tales. It is a quick, shallow, derivative read with characters that you would like to throttle. I laughed out loud when I read that while living in an apartment of a couple (with twins!) the guest wife was having a torrid affair with the host husband. And no one was the wiser. Really? However, the plot thickens when the two lovers run into each other again - 25 years later! - in a Manhattan market! And, goodness, the spark is still there. Imagine that! What WILL it take for these two to get over one another?? The big mystery in the book is the absent Whit - a shallower character yet - if that's possible. SO - I could go on, but why bother. I wouldn't recommend this book - it's silly.
Linda M. (Three Oaks, MI)
Stuff Never Happens
Annabelle married Grant McKay when she was so very young and still had so much to learn about herself and her new husband. But like any journey, the road is fraught with obstacles and detours. Annabelle’s side trip was an extramarital affair that defined both her and Grant’s existence over the next 30 years. Grant’s way of dealing with it was to put his head in the sand like an ostrich pretending that it never happened. For Annabelle, it was an itch that when scratched was never satisfied. This story is told from Annabelle’s perspective and deftly navigates between the past and the present. I confess there were moments when I didn’t particularly like Annabelle and even wanted to throttle Grant a few times but that’s what made this novel work so well. I thought this was a pretty good debut for this new author.