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review 2016-10-30 05:58
Book Review: So Far Away
So Far Away - Meg Mitchell Moore

Book: So Far Away

 

Author: Meg Mitchell Moore

 

Genre: Fiction/Family/Teen/Drama

 

Summary: Thirteen-year-old Natalie Gallagher wants to escape: from her parents’ ugly divorce and from the vicious cyberbullying of her former best friend. Adrift, confused, she is a girl trying to find her way in a world that seems to either neglect her or despise her. Her salvation arrives in an unlikely form: Bridget O’Connell, an Irish maid working for a wealthy Massachusetts family. The catch? Bridget only lives in the pages of a dusty old diary Natalie unearthed in her mother’s basement. But the life she describes is as troubling- and mysterious - as the one Natalie is trying to navigate herself, almost a century later. I am writing this down because this is my story. There were only ever two other people who knew my secret, and both are gone before me. Who was Bridget, and what became of her? Natalie loses herself in the diary, eager to unlock its secrets, and reluctantly accepts the help of library archivist Kathleen Lynch, a widow with her own painful secret: she’s estranged from her only daughter. Kathleen sees in Natalie traces of the daughter she has lost, and in Bridget, another spirited young woman at risk. What could an Irish immigrant, a domestic servant from the 1920s, teach them both? As the troubles of a very modern world close in around them, and Natalie’s torments at school escalate, Bridget’s faded journal unites the lonely girl and the unhappy widow - and might even change their lives forever. - Hachette, 2012.

 

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quote 2015-02-21 19:50
Even as a boy, Zaki had sometimes felt beyond rescue, lost in dizzying spirals of panic.

part of today's #AmReading from The Stars Seem So Far Away by Margrét Helgadóttir, P87

Source: booklikes.com/the-stars-seem-so-far-away-margret-helgadottir/book,13041255
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review 2015-02-21 19:46
Quick review of The Stars Seem So Far Away
The Stars Seem So Far Away - Margret Helgadottir

A good, strong debut with an interesting setting - I look forward to more words from Margrét

Source: booklikes.com/the-stars-seem-so-far-away-margret-helgadottir/book,13041255
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review 2013-06-01 00:00
So Far Away
So Far Away - Meg Mitchell Moore The slow pace and effortless flow drew me into the story and unfolded the characters lives and personalities bit by bit while also entwining them all together. Overall enjoyable read, nothing outstanding one way or another but definitely a story you can relax with.
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review 2012-09-24 00:00
So Far Away - Meg Mitchell Moore So Far Away tells the story of Natalie, a thirteen year old bullying victim also struggling with her parents’ divorce, and Kathleen, the middle aged archivist meant to help Natalie with a genealogy project for school. The two are connected through Bridgette, an Irish maid in 1920s Boston whose diary Natalie has found and wants to investigate. As a fan of Kate Morton and other such stories that connect modern and historical characters together, I had high hopes for this one. In the end, it was quite a let-down.

A lot of this novel – or at least the hundred pages I was able to slog my way through – feels very forced and clunky, as though Mitchell Moore isn’t quite sure how to subtly weave all her themes together. The writing is lacking in its exposition; there’s a whole lotta telling instead of showing. Mitchell Moore is disposed to using parenthetical asides in her narration, an unnecessary tool that destroys any sense of subtlety in her character development and foreshadowing.

I found the character of Kathleen to be particularly annoying. She’s just so overwrought and, I don’t know, kind of histrionic? She feels drawn to help Natalie because the girl reminds her of her own daughter, Susannah, whom she lost to heroin addiction. Kathleen sees Natalie as a cracking porcelain doll and takes it upon herself to hold the girl together. But it’s all so over dramatic. When Natalie first meets Kathleen she lies and says that her mother has died, and then walks off into a rainstorm to catch the bus. Kathleen’s first thought:

“The poor girl. No wonder she looked so fragile and bewildered. So underfed! Poor thing, no mother. That explained why she was out in a rainstorm on a school day, why she was navigating Boston’s public transportation system on her own. She had nobody to tell her not to.”

Oi vey. I lost my mother when I was roughly Natalie’s age and I don’t think anyone would’ve described me as “fragile and bewildered” even in the months immediately following her death. I know that it’s unfair to assume that a character’s grieving process would necessarily mimic my own, but it strikes me as stereotypical and condescending to assume that a teenage girl who has lost her mother is going to wander around lost in the big city in the rain crying, that any emotional issues are directly and solely tied to the loss of her mother, and that no one else could be responsible for properly parenting the girl aside from the lost mother. Yes, yes – this whole thing is meant to illustrate Kathleen’s guilt at having “failed” her daughter. She feels like an inadequate mother, so she has to save this girl!

Oi vey. This novel is largely unoriginal and pretty poorly written.
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