Published by Random House on January 20, 2015
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I received this book for free from the publisher.
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What happens when a person is unable to leave behind the youthful indiscretions of the past? Does it simmer underneath the veneer of a happy life forever, or does it bubble up and disrupt your harmony? This is the premise of A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison. It’s a book about marriage and the pull that unfinished past loves can have on a person. In a way, it’s a also lesson is closure, but not all closure is beneficial.
The story follows Annie Black, who at the age of 20 left her old life behind and moved to London. While there, she did what all newly free women do – she found a job, lived on her own, forged her own identity, and fell in love. After returning home abruptly for reasons of the heart, the book flash forwards two decades to her present day life. This present day Annie is a happily married woman with her own store, a wonderful husband, and three kids. For all intents and purposes, the past is simply that – her past. But after a photograph of Annie, age 20, lands on her doorstep (a classic Noe Valley row house, by the way, so think Full House), she is thrown into a spiral of memories of her time in London and the matters of the heart that sent her running from the city twenty years earlier. Things only get worse from there. With her marriage in trouble and her son injured in a horrific car accident, Annie has to learn to deal with both the consequences of her actions and the fragile outlook of her future.A Small Indiscretion by @Janellison is about marriage and the pull of the past. #books #reviews Click To Tweet
The book is written as a letter from Annie to her son, and while this threw me off at first, it turned out to be the only way to write this book. It flashes back from present day to the past, so the reader finds out about Annie’s past alongside their consequences, which is a new if this, then that style of writing. The book is filled with excellent life quotes, and to demonstrate that I’ve included a few:
- “I’m a recovering Catholic, like all the good Catholics of our generation.”
- “Perhaps blame is the way the universe organizes itself around tragedy and loss. Without blame, suffering is random, and that kind of randomness leads to madness.”
- “After all, experiencing something is not the same as remembering it. A memory is by its nature a revision.”
As for the characters, I’ve read a lot of reviews that say that Annie is unlikable and, while I certainly don’t love her, I disagree. Instead, I feel sorry for her. After all, we’ve all made decisions that have haunted us. The difference is that Annie was both haunted and unable to move on, and that made me sad more than angry. If anything, it’s the almost saint-like portrayal of her husband that makes Annie less likable, for without him there would be no good versus evil.
Recommended for: Fans of books about marriage and its frailties, as well as how the past can rear its ugly head in the present.
BONUS: PHOTOS FROM KATIE @ DOING DEWEY
Part of the book takes place in Howth, Ireland, and it just so happens that Kate from Doing Dewey was actually in Howth while I was reading this book. She’s graciously shared a few of her photos from her trip and I thought it appropriate to add them in here.