You, Me and Other People by Fionnuala Kearney, published February 2015 by HarperCollins.
Read: September 2015
Genre: Adult/Contemporary/Women’s Fiction
Get It Now: Wordery
Goodreads Synopsis: They say every family has skeletons in their closet… But what happens when you open the door, and they won’t stop tumbling out?
For Adam and Beth the first secret wasn’t the last, it was just the beginning. You think you can imagine the worst thing that could happen to your family, but there are some secrets that change everything. And then the question is, how can you piece together a future when your past is being rewritten?
This was a spontaneous purchase when doing the weekly food shop, that ended up working in my favour. Don’t you just love when that happens?? Initially, that cover drew me in, then the title kept a tight hold on me, and by the time I read the blurb I was sold. You, Me and Other People is a refreshingly realistic, extremely well written, and, at times, quite humorous story that un-apologetically delves into the warts-and-all scenario of a family falling apart, the consequences for all involved, and the long recovery process.
When I began writing this review, I wanted to credit this book as being intelligent, emotional and particularly well written chick-lit, but apparently this is categorised as “women’s fiction”, and those are two different genres. Who knew? (I really need to get around to writing an opinion piece on “chick-lit” and “women’s fiction” soon!). I was baffled when I discovered that this is Kearney’s debut novel, it just doesn’t seem possible. Not only is her writing style fantastic (I was completely in love by the end of the first chapter alone), but she writes excellent wit, which is such a difficult thing to do.
There are some very unlike-able and flawed characters in this story, but Kearney does a great job with character back-story and motivations, and ultimately I felt I understood character actions, even if I struggled to forgive them, much like our protagonist, Beth. The side characters are also worth mentioning, as their stories are well developed and definitely add to the novel overall. This book is told in dual POV, a storytelling method I LOVE and see a lot in YA, but less often in adult novels. Occasionally, multiple POV can feel unnecessary, but in this instance it adds so much more to the intriguing and suspenseful plot.
I had so many issues with our second protagonist, Adam. This personally affected my enjoyment of the read, because he really is at a one-man pity party for the entirety of the book, and would benefit from weekly therapy so he can learn to take responsibility for his own actions. That being said, he IS a realistic and well-written character, just one I have no patience for. Kearney took a brave decision or two in this book, which kept the story unpredictable and therefore held my interest. However – I started this read with great gusto, and lost momentum somewhere along the way. I think it definitely could have benefited from being a little more succinct in places. Has to be said, I’m very excited to read more by Kearney in the future!
Have you read You, Me and Other People? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!