Admittedly I finished this book a little while ago and I’ve read two books since so some of the details are a little fuzzy. But overall, I liked this one. I do think I had some high expectations going into it. I’d heard from a few people who’d already read it that they really enjoyed it, and the description intrigued me. I love books where diverse lives intersect, for better or worse. Speaking of which, if you haven’t read Bright, Shiny Morning you should definitely put it on your TBR list.
Anyway, like I said, I went into this with some high expectations, and I don’t think they were quite met. But I guess I’m a tough judge. I liked the book but I didn’t love it, and I think I was expecting to love it. There were just a few things in the way of me falling in love with it: the story was interesting, but a little predictable, and the characters were well-written but I didn’t feel like all of their stories were fully told.
The mother son dynamic between Avis and Nate was odd. And I feel like there wasn’t any closure there. What happens to Nate? To his marriage? Does his poor wife stays in the relationship? And I thought Roberta was going to be a bigger character but she seemed to just function as a bridge for different characters. I feel like she could have been left out of the story all together. And why bring up Luis’ father and uncle? I’m not sure why that story line came into play without any true end.
Overall I finished it feeling like the book told small parts of many wholes that didn’t add up to a complete story. I feel like it should have been longer or shorter. But even still, it was an enjoyable read for sure. I loved the details of Las Vegas. As I’ve been told by another (former) Vegas resident, it’s very true to life in Sin City. And I really felt like I could see the characters’ lives as I read their stories. And McBride has a way of telling you a lot with a few words. Her telling of Avis’ loss of her young daughter in a page and a half was so beautiful and heartbreaking I almost put the book down. As a mother of two little girls it was almost enough to stop me from reading any further… “And then she puts her hands in his hair, lays her cheek on the ice cream, and says, as clear and sweet as those ice-cream truck chimes, ‘Good daddy.'” I live moments like these every day, and she captured their fleeting magic perfectly.
It was a few moments like those when I’d find myself wondering if there’d be ANY happy parts of this book. Some of it got very sad and hard to read. But I’m glad it pulled through! The happy ending was just what I needed.
So, if you’re looking for an entertaining story with a heartwarming ending to take on your next vaca – this is a good one!