SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE Book Review

Overview:

One question plagued 17-year-old Rosie Kenning as she watched helplessly as her mother’s Huntington’s illness destroyed her, as the mood swings and chorea wrecked body and soul: “Will this happen to me?”

She cannot possibly understand how the response will alter her life. The first of many unexpected narrative turn occurs when Rosie discovers that Trudie Kenning wasn’t actually her mother and that there is no way she could have Huntington’s disease. Rosie was born and exchanged with an abandoned child who was destined to perish. Rosie and her boyfriend, Andy, cross the Atlantic in search of answers as they are desperate to find the mother and father they never knew. In addition to putting their relationship in danger, the secrets and falsehoods they discover could endanger the lives of people they come across along the road. Dale, a rookie novelist who is also an actress, obviously has a flair for the dramatic. The narration that interrupts Rosie’s first-person account is delivered by an anonymous person, which adds to the growing suspense and character development. All things considered, it differs greatly from the normal sickness novel. It reads as a haunted house might, with surprises waiting around every corner.

Review:

Spoilers are there in this review. Although I typically avoid giving away the surprises in books, this time I feel compelled to do so in order to describe how I feel about this one. It’s been warned that you.

Huntington’s disease, a crippling condition that devastated her mother’s mind while Trudie watched helplessly, has just claimed the life of Rosie’s adored mother Trudie. She must now accept the possibility that she may have inherited the illness herself, and she must decide whether to take the test or not. When she finds out that Sarah, her mother’s best friend, switched Trudie’s dying baby for Rosie, she learns the truth from Sarah, who also happens to be her mother’s best friend. The chapters alternate between Rosie’s narration of some of the story and that of an unnamed, secret narrator.

Rosie then begins to look into the matter and (so quickly) learns that Kitty, an LA-based actress, might be her biological mother. Rosie and her boyfriend Andy then travel to the country in search of Kitty. She doesn’t tell Andy the real reason she’s leaving him, so he assumes they are just taking a break starting in New York. Coincidentally (twist! ), Kitty is in New York at the same time, but she doesn’t react well to Rosie’s arrival. Rosie, who is devastated, resolves to continue their journey, but Andy hears something (so easily) and hatches a plan to visit a fish and chip shop where (surprise!) Rosie’s biological father lives. Rosie is welcomed by him with open arms (so very readily), but Holly, Trudie’s genuine daughter—the infant who should have died (twist!) but didn’t—and the anonymous narrator—who now has to face the truth about her family and the possibility that she has Huntington’s—cannot be so lucky. Holly is secretly expecting a child, which further complicates matters, and her choice may have an effect on both Holly and her unborn child.

This review almost never happened because I struggled to pick up the book after putting it down twice (due to stuff like sleeping and working). For a variety of different reasons, I just wasn’t able to relate to any of the characters or the tale at all.

First of all, I was irritated with the story devices.

Things happened so swiftly and simply, without any true emotional growth. This is a crucial point because, despite the fact that Someone Else’s Life is meant to be about genuine sadness and life-altering choices, all the emotional responses to such monumental occurrences (death, life-threatening illnesses, lies, lost families, etc.) were incredibly superficial. Rosie may claim to have loved Trudie more than anything else, but once her mother passes away, she leaves and doesn’t even give her a second thought. And why the sudden changes in the plot? My impression is that the story was ultimately harmed since the plot twists took precedence above character growth. With little to no time spent considering how the twists would affect the lives they affected, they continued coming one after another. Yes, characters responded to them, but the emotional problems they created were superficial, and the majority of the time, the developments that followed relied heavily on dramatic flourishes and major misunderstandings, such as broken mobile phones. texts that were never read to increase the tenseness. True emotional reactions were replaced by exclamation points, and dramatic words like “It’s all my fault” and “It’s all her fault” were repeatedly used.

Except for one character—more on that later—everyone in the book is lovely and accepting, and the midwife, who committed a very real crime, faces no meaningful repercussions. It is one thing to consider the possibility that suing her for malpractice at this time would not benefit anyone, but I felt that this conclusion was arrived at by waving a magic wand (after all, she had good intentions) rather than considering all of the ethical and moral ramifications of her actions.

Finally, the way that EVERY teenager in the book is ready to be together forever with their high school sweethearts and ready to be parents at 17 or 18 except for the one female character who wanted a career more than she wanted children or a family and who, as a result, was the only EVIL character in the entire book, is perhaps my biggest beef with the book and what made me feel really uncomfortable.

About  Author :

When Katie Dale was only eight years old, The Fate of the School Hamster, her first poem, was published in Cadbury’s Book of Children’s Poetry. Since then, she hasn’t stopped. Katie enjoys developing characters both on the page and on stage, drawing inspiration from her mother, author Elizabeth Dale. Her literary career began when she won the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices competition after receiving acting training and traveling the nation as Shakespeare’s Juliet. She has written books for readers of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. Her books have won numerous honors and are distributed internationally. Her debut book for Macmillan Children’s Books was Mumnesia.

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