Sunday, January 18

Book Review: All My Puny Sorrows

Title: All My Puny Sorrows

Author: Miriam Toews

Pages: EBook 236

Summary: You won’t forget Elf and Yoli, two smart and loving sisters. Elfrieda, a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, happily married: she wants to die. Yolandi, divorced, broke, sleeping with the wrong men as she tries to find true love: she desperately wants to keep her older sister alive. Yoli is a beguiling mess, wickedly funny even as she stumbles through life struggling to keep her teenage kids and mother happy, her exes from hating her, her sister from killing herself and her own heart from breaking.

But Elf’s latest suicide attempt is a shock: she is three weeks away from the opening of her highly anticipated international tour. Her long-time agent has been calling and neither Yoli nor Elf’s loving husband knows what to tell him. Can she be nursed back to “health” in time? Does it matter? As the situation becomes ever more complicated, Yoli faces the most terrifying decision of her life.

My Rating: 6.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I enjoyed the overall story of the book, and at times thought it to be a good book, which highlighted a person's struggle with mental illness beautifully, there was also large aspects of the book I didn't like - and those parts overpowered the good. The story was fairly well written and well told, while I'm not a fan of the author's writing style - the lack of punctuation and distinction between when and which characters were speaking, but that didn't bother me as much as other aspects of the book, which were some of the characters, particularly Yoli. Her character irritated me, I felt she lacked in development, was immature and her humour, which I think was intended to be comic relief, felt awkward force and took away from the importance of the topic of the story.

I also felt the that story was disjointed, as it was jumping back to memories versus the present, which didn't work as well as it could have. The focus on mental illness and Elf's character were wonderfully done, emotional, and very well written. She was a believable character, her story was well written and her struggles were incredibly well done. The author did a fantastic job there, but I felt other aspects of the book pull away from Elf and her struggles, and in the end, they took away from the importance and focus of her story.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. While I didn't enjoy the book as much, I do think a lot of readers would enjoy it.

What to read next: Bone and Bread

Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Books Challenge, 2015 EBook Challenge, Ultimate Canadian Reading Challenge

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