Review: A Messy, Beautiful Life

Life is funny sometimes.
And not always the ha, ha kind. Like that one time where a hot guy tried to kiss me and I fell. Down. Hard. And then found out I had cancer.
I’m trying to be strong for my friends and my mom.
And I’m trying so hard to be “just friends” with that hot guy, even though he seems to want so much more. But I won’t do that to him. He’s been through this before with his family, and I’m not going to let him watch me die.
So, I tell myself: Smile Ellie. Be funny Ellie. Don’t cry Ellie, because once I start, I might not stop.

I’m going to just… be honest… I did not like this book, at all. It seemed very rushed, and the writing was missing development. I really, really wanted to like it – the characters were cute, and I think they could’ve had a great dynamic and worked well with the plot. However, it was very rushed and undeveloped as it was.

Within the first fifty pages were are thrown through an undisclosed amount of time, that seemed like it should’ve been weeks, but I think was maybe a few hours. There were “major shows,” parties, almost kisses, injuries, and then a life threatening diagnosis of cancer. The thing was, it was all just very crammed together and rushed. Everything had a great base, a great foundation and concept behind it. You could tell it was written with a lot of passion, as there was something there, that something just wasn’t quite enough.

It is honestly difficult for me to discuss the plot here in terms of review, as it was sort of all over the place – as I said, it was very much rushed. I think this book she be approached as a novella, more than anything. At less than 200 pages it does come into that category by default, but I was approaching as a novel. I do believe it was intended to be such, but, as I said… It was just so rushed.

As an English tutor we are told to focus on higher order concerns (thesis statements, structure, etc.) before low order concerns (grammar, etc.). The details don’t matter when the big picture isn’t there – why sweep while the house is burning down. That is how I feel with this book. It’s very difficult for me to focus in on the little things here and there that I did or did not enjoy because I am so overwhelmed by the book needing to slow downnnnnnnn.

That being said – this is an issue I struggle with in my writing, and I did see a spark in the writing. I would totally read another one of this author’s novels, this just wasn’t my favorite.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

2 out of 5.


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