My rating: 5 of 5 stars
*Note: I received a copy of this text in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.*
Written and told from the perspectives of three women in a family of four, The Hardest Thing in this World is a more-than-worthy read. From page one I was engaged and riveted, absorbed in the writing and the story that unfolded. I simply could not put this book down until I finished, gobbling it up in voracious chunks. I even spent several lunch hours nose-to-Kindle, not even able to go 8 hours without needing to read just a little bit more,need to know what happens next!
Frasier has a beautiful eloquence to her style that enraptures, amuses, and stings like a bruise deliberately poked for that delicious zing of wounded nerves reminding us we are alive and feeling. She brought these three characters to life – Melody (the mother), Kayla (the elder daughter), and Renee (the younger daughter) with such raw honesty that I couldn’t help but relate with each of them.
In the reading I was periodically reminded of another favorite, Wally Lamb. In The Hardest Thing in this World we’re introduced first to Melody in a foreshadowing of events to come and then quickly cast back into the past to pick up where it all began. This is a story about family and how each perspective differs from the next yet still harmonizes with the rest. Frasier throws in an unexpected but wholly appreciated dash of paranormal, giving us the appearance of Renee’s ghost at the forefront of the story. The paranormal element continues throughout although often as a low-key background noise to the otherwise raucous adventures and misadventures of these three women as they navigate their way through life without any guideposts or maps to lead the way.
Frasier pays homage to family dynamics, unafraid to show the ugliness that can sometimes happen behind closed doors, or its ultimate effect on a family already so individually divided. Each character’s voice is unique as is their perspectives, with Melody and Kayla’s perspectives delivered in first person; Renee’s oddly different in third person. I wondered at this difference for much of the book, only realizing why when Renee has her first dissociative break in college. This seemed to me a stroke of genius writing, and this was my overall thought as I devoured this book start to finish. Frasier just has this way of putting sentences together that left me breathless and a more than a little envious of her talents as a writer.
There are no negatives to this read – only one slight discrepancy that might have just been a typographic error but Sebastian’s brothers are listed as the same age but not stated as twins, both being thirty five.
It might be understatement to say that I
thoroughly enjoyed this book
and as such I bestow a much-deserved rating of 5 stars. Frasier is a talent ne’er to be missed!