Characterization pilots this story without a doubt. You have a clueless, intelligent male facing an awkward turning point in his marriage as well as mending a distant and fractured relationship with his burgeoning son. Narrated in the first person, Douglas tells the backstory of meeting his wife and their collective history complete with defeats and successes, as we revisit the past we learn Douglas is steady, honest, flawed and a reliable revealing voice.
Douglas captures your attention from the start possessing warmth and humor, he is a welcoming presence. Developed fully, you forget you’re reading, rather you feel apart of Douglas or at the very least an intimate confidant. Nicholls provides the reader with Douglas’s intricate ways and unique personality, you learn all and gain insight from his perspective, grasp his flaws as you comprehend his motives and missteps. His character is plausible and extremely realistic impacting the narrative and frankly making the story.
Despite Douglas narrating, you’re provided crumbs from Connie and Albie as well, gaining their viewpoint on Douglas. As each mindset is unleashed you realize the lack of communication, misunderstandings and assumptions causing the tears in the fabric of this marriage and family. With each truth and reality acknowledge, Douglas wholeheartedly attempts to salvage his family, vulnerable, naked as he desperately tries to correct his parental errors. As compelling as Douglas is, you are left questioning and disappointed in many of his actions. He’s a combination of misunderstood, unawares, and borderline complex by his own hand.
This is a story of more than a marriage on the precipice of ending, it’s about human interactions, lack of communication, being present but not really being there, a father seeking validation – always missing the mark with his son. the danger of a marriage of opposites, it’s an incredible story. Impeccable characterization, with a voice engaging the reader, definitely worth reading, well sketched in total.
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton