Friday, January 15, 2016

Review: Things Unsaid

Jules, Joanne, and Andrew are siblings. They grew up in the same house, but they now live their own lives in different towns. Their parents are not doing well, and the children are going to have to make some decisions about how to proceed. Their mother Aida and father Bob are staying in an exclusive and expensive retirement home while making poor financial decisions and expecting their kids to pick up the tab. The fact that their children are supporting them in various ways is not enough to stop Aida from making calculated and painful digs at the three children.

Things Unsaid is often a difficult read. The characters are so incredibly self-absorbed and seem to care very little for what their family members want or need. Jules is the main character and she finds herself torn between the needs of her own career, husband and daughter, and the demands of her parents. But this is not Jules' story alone. We also read from the perspectives of Joanne, Andrew, and the parents, which gives readers insight into the ways abuse is perpetuated and cycles are repeated through the generations.

While it seems instinctual and right to take care of our parents, Ms. Paul forces us to reconsider. What if our parents have made life awful for us? What if they insist that they be put first every time, even to the detriment of our lives? In spite of Bob and Aida being neglectful and often downright cruel to Jules, they expect her to care for them financially and emotionally.

Diana Paul is a good writer - despite my difficulty with the characters, the story itself is compelling. While the story is fictional, it also serves as an important reminder that we all deserve to have good people in our lives, who love and support us just as we do for them.


Things Unsaid
By Diana Y. Paul
She Writes Press October 2015
270 pages
Sent by the author for review

16 comments:

  1. This sounds like the kind of book that'd you come away from with a lot of thoughts.

    Thanks for sharing your review!

    Reading With Jade

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    1. Definitely! Hopefully it makes you grateful for your own family, as wacky as they may be.

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  2. Sounds like it'd be a good book club book, with lots to discuss. Too bad I dropped out of my book club. :)

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    1. Haha. I always think a book club sounds like fun, but I don't have to deal with cranky fellow members, going out on nights when I'm tired, and actually reading the books on time.

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    2. Those are some of the very reasons I'm no longer in mine...I think I'll just stick to my own Book Club for One for awhile so I can just read what I want...at home...in my pajamas. :)

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    3. It's the best way to read. :)

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  3. I think we'd be surprised by some of the unhealthy family relationships! It would be a tug of war.

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    1. It really made me wonder about the struggles we don't see behind the scenes in families.

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  4. Great review of this one. I fear it might drive me batty. I'm not opposed to unlikable characters, but these sound vaguely Franzenian (a word? now it is).

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    1. Thanks Andi. I think if Franzenian isn't a word, we should make it one!

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  5. Oh boy. Don't know if I could do it, at least not right now, but I'm glad you enjoyed!

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    1. It was definitely a tough read. Why can't families just be kind to each other?!?

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  6. This sounds like such a frustrating read! I'm not sure I could deal with such horrible characters.

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    1. Frustrating is a very good word for it!

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  7. Thank you, Lindsey! The posts were so compelling to me as the author--the fact that Things Unsaid is an uncomfortable novel to read. I so appreciate readers' reactions!

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  8. I also posted a link to your website on my social media--approximately 10k followers on various subgroups. Hopefully, you will get more visitors and newsletter subscribers. I love your coverage of books that are somewhat "below the radar" in addition to the ones that have a lot of PR.

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