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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Top customer reviews
The prologue puts us a little bit into the future, giving the reader a small glimpse of things to come. A Black Virus has swept into the halls of Bright New Day and into the lap of one Gabriel Schist, a Nobel Prize winning genius/scientist suffering with Alzheimer's, who, somehow, is supposed to stop the epidemic. From here, we know the score. Something bad is on the way, and given Mr. Schist's cognitive condition, the odds are not in his favor, but instead of playing up some sort of blockbuster-ish global terrorism BS as so many other biological Armageddon books typically do, no, from here we move into the lives of the people residing in the beds of Bright New Day, a nursing home along the coast of New Hampshire. And we also get to experience, if only marginally yet beautifully written, how it is to live in a nursing home, how it is to have your basic cognitive functions slowly slip away. You can tell right away, this story was written from experience, and I suspect that the character known as Harry could possibly be a mirror of Nicholas himself.
Be-that-as-it-may, one of the finer qualities of the book was how Nicholas carefully walked the reader through Gabriel's life. We get to see, inch by painful inch, his story unfold, from the lows to the highs, so much so that certain elements are so systematically revealed, there is a real mesmerizing quality to the pages.
Without revealing too much, and I want to leave a lot of detail out of this review, mostly because I want a first time reader to discover these things on their own, in their natural environment and revelation. However, if we were to look upon this work as a musical composition, I'd say Nicholas hit a range of notes, colliding together in a spectacularly rich, dramatic, heartbreaking, and joyous crescendo. There were moments of happiness. There were moments of tragedy and helplessness (lots of helplessness, and not too surprising considering the subject matter). Lots of regret and understanding purpose. And, especially towards the middle and later half, moments of dementia, unsure if things seen are real or the figment of Gabriel's imagination, hallucinations caused by his rapidly decaying mind.
And...I will not spoil the rest. You'll have to find out on your own what happens. Overall, my only complaint, and this is marginal, was the absence of the daughter, Melanie, from a majority of the story. There is a beautiful father-daughter scene in chapter 2, and I had hoped to see more of them. But the focus was not on Melanie, but rather Gabriel, thus, we did not venture far from his perspective. And that's okay, it doesnt ruin anything at all. When she finally does come back into play, those moments really captured the emotional momentum, literally bringing tears to my eyes. Thank you for that, Nicolas, really. And bravo, sir. Bravo.
The storytelling is done in a manner to slowly show the reader both the sad and joyous sides of life. To take this journey with Gabriel felt like living portions of his life. Gabriel Schist and all the residents of the Bright New Day facility left me with a profound desire to call my aging family members and remind them how much I love them and to sit and listen to as many stories of their youth as they care to tell.
This isn’t normally a genre I would pick up but I have read another story by this author and loved it. The style in which Nicholas Conley writes and composes his stories have left my emotions vulnerable and raw more than once.
***Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official.***
The structure of the tale was well thought-out, and the writing is top notch. I enjoyed Mr. Conley’s first novel, The Cage Legacy, and this one is just as solid. Great attention to detail and the prose jumps off the page. An excellent book that I have no problem recommending.
Most recent customer reviews
When the author approached me about this novel, I didn’t know what to say.Read more
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