Friday, November 18, 2016

I guess it's been a long decline: SEPARATE LIVES.

Separate LivesSeparate Lives by Kathryn Flett

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

It all begins when Susie sees the text on Alex's phone: "Start living a different kind of life ...P :-) xxx." Convinced he's having an affair, Susie sets off on her own trajectory that threatens their partnership of ten years and their life with their two children. And Alex? Is he completely innocent in all of this? And what about the mysterious P?

This novel is told from the alternating point of view of Susie, Alex, and Pippa. Susie's pieces come via standard narrative, Alex's mainly through email exchanges with his brothers and sister, and Pippa via emails to her sister. While this starts off as sort of enjoyable and different, it can grow old quickly (though the email format moved quickly at least). For instance, Pippa and Susie have a way of veering off into tangents about their past, which drove me absolutely insane. These summaries seemed not at all relevant to the book (what they wore and read at seventeen!) and dragged the narrative down and the story on forever.

Meanwhile, the novel sounds interesting in its premise: a group of characters brought together by a potential technological misunderstanding. It's certainly why I selected it as an ARC. The problem is that none of the characters are remotely redeemable or likeable. While a book that revolves around infidelity may not always have the most personable of characters, you can usually find some humanity them. This group: I just could not find any reason to root for them. I would find an occasional glimpse in Susie or Pippa, but overall, they all annoyed me with their whining and life choices, and I felt sorry for their children! Add to that a plot filled with a variety of twists and turns that would be better off in a soap opera or Lifetime movie (surprise pregnancies! love affairs with a spouse's siblings!), and my frustration level reached its peak. Again, there were moments I liked, but overall I just didn't find a lot of humor or enjoyment in this novel. 2.5 stars.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review; it is available everywhere as of 12/06/2016

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