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.
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.
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.
La Deana R. (Norman, OK)
the stuff that never happened
Loved it. Annabelle is the person you sit next to at the ballgames, watching your kids. She is the mom who remembered to bring cupcakes when you are scrambling to get your kids to school at all. And Annabelle is a woman living in a marriage fractured by her own careless, thoughtless and impetuous affair. I found her character believable as she tries to live her life in spite of her betrayal to her husband. I can empathize with her romanticized version of the man she lost 26 years before.
I waited, spellbound, as she found Jeremiah unexpectedly again and all the repercussions this has on her family once again. This is a true picture of marriage, both good and bad, love in its best and its worst form. I couldn't put it down and would recommend it to anyone (but especially those women of a certain age - like myself - whose past and present don't always seem to line up). Good reading, tell Ms. Dawson to bring us more!
Mary Lou M. (N Royalton, OH)
The Stuff That Never Happened
I was immediately immersed into the lives of Annabelle & Grant McKay from the very beginning of this novel. Annabelle's transformation from the late 1970's through 2005 was fascinating, but Grant was the biggest surprise.
The emotions that were held in check, at times, made my heart ache for the characters. The parallels between daughter and mother were interesting to watch unfold.
I found myself disliking Annabelle at brief moments, wanting to shake some sense into her, but then she would endear herself once again.
I would highly recommend this book to all of my friends in my Book Club. We range in ages from 30 to 70 and I feel that everyone would love the book, no matter your age.