2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
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Book Review: If/Then by Kate Hope Day

Imagine a world in which you made different choices. It’s probably not that difficult to imagine that the consequences of those choices could take your life in a wildly different direction. It’s harder to imagine subtler changes – the kind that might not look huge, but whose impact is nevertheless felt significantly. Now imagine having the ability to look at both of those scenarios. Intrigued? You should be – and then you should read Kate Hope Day’s new novel to see how such a thing plays out in the hands of a very talented and imaginative writer.

I really enjoyed this one. It was a windy, twisty tale of what-might-be’s and I thoroughly enjoyed the back-and-forth in story lines – which I didn’t even realize was happening until part-way through. To my mind, that’s the hallmark of excellent storytelling – I was so immersed that I fell right into the narratives and the characters’ lives. Some may find it confusing though, and I can see how. This is NOT a linear tale, and that style isn’t for everyone.

Truth be told, it’s usually not for me.

For some reason this one just worked for me though. It might be Hope Day’s writing, which is clear and straightforward with a great balance of descriptive and narrative bits that keep the story moving without sacrificing explanation or explication when necessary. Perhaps it’s the subject matter, which focuses heavily on the challenges of balancing motherhood with selfhood and of walking away from a career to take on a family – challenges I can certainly relate to.

Her life is smaller since she had Leah, and less free. But it’s also much more than it was, all at once, all at the same time. She has to be more than one thing now. She has to be two, three, four. It seemed impossible at first. But now … maybe it’s not.

***

Making two of yourself is vicious work.

Perhaps it’s the character of Ginny, who resonated with me from the opening of the story, or of Mark’s panicky fear about protecting his child and family, which also resonated (although I’m pleased to report I’ve never gone *THAT* far – yet). Or perhaps it’s the non-linear expression of life – which I also found oddly compelling and resonant. Whatever it was, I felt wholly engaged in the story and the lives being described from the opening pages and did not want it to end. I’m definitely adding Day to my author watch list!

I received my review copy via NetGalley.

According to Amazon: “Kate Hope Day holds a BA from Bryn Mawr College and a PhD in English from the University of Pittsburgh. She was an associate producer at HBO. She lives in Oregon with her husband and their two children.”

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