The best part of this book is the fact that Kate O’Brien allows the reader to feel sympathy towards these characters. Every character in this story is an emotional mess...every thought and feeling is an absolute. No one ever feels by halves. In some ways it’s tragic witnessing these characters deal with life and circumstance, especially when it’s immediately apparent that each character will be forced to go through some form of sacrifice, even the bitchy, overbearing matriarch Hannah.
I felt most attached to the poor child-like innocence of Tom, who was forced to become an adult at a young age, in effect losing his chance to really live. When a chance of escape appears, is it possible to take it, when in the process it’s very possible to lose everything that once was held so dear? Timing is important in regards to change....
The sacrifices for Jo and her brother Martin are more selfish in nature...using the excuse of “time” as a means to go forward with other plans. Especially in regards to Jo, the reason for self-denial is extreme, and one that I didn’t especially like. On the other hand, Martin’s is more psychologically interesting...a way for him to be closer to his one true desire.
Angelè, even though she’s the protagonist, serves more as a catalyst in this story. Her presence drives the story on and in some ways helps time to bring about change, even though in some ways, time does change her.
And then there’s Hannah. She’s the kind of woman who knowingly ignores everything around her, pretending she doesn’t know when she does, unless it happens to pertain to her number one son, Tom. I honestly don’t like her. Yet I liked how O’Brien portrayed her at the end. O’Brien allows the reader to ask the question, “Does she really get everything she wants?” I loved what Angelè says to Hannah at the end, as well as how that whole scene plays out. It’s good.