Number of Pages: 248
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Rating: out of 5
OBC Rating: 3 out of 4 stars
Themes: Family, Love, Alzheimer’s Disease, Relationship
Story Perspective: Third-Person Omniscient
*This was part of the OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day Program*
Mr. McGullicuddy is a WWII veteran and his body is succumbing to the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Due to this, his son, Robert, takes care of him while he writes on his blog.
Challenging as it is to see his father’s deterioration, Robert’s pregnant daughter, Ruby, and granddaughter, Sapphire, are in a difficult situation, as well. They move in with him and soon the family’s money issues become a real concern.
However, money isn’t the biggest concern as Robert comes to find out. His radical blogging is catching more attention than perhaps Robert realizes…
One of the best aspects of this novel is family value. The author makes it very clear that the McGullicuddys are there for each other for better or for worse. Whether it is a man losing himself to Alzheimer’s, or a teenager trying to adjust to her new uprooted life while obtaining more family responsibilities, or even a mother of a teenager and newborn trying to keep her family safe. There are countless ways that this family puts the love they have for each other first, which was refreshing and great to read about.
The characterization was done really well, too. I felt I was able to understand and got to know each of the prominent characters. It was a read that took the third-person omniscient point-of-view, which was done extremely well here. Whenever a scene where Mr. McGillicuddy came up and he had forgotten something or someone, my heart went out to him and his loved ones. In other words, there were definite emotional moments and times so realistic, I really felt I was there with the characters.
As far as ways to improve this read, I would say there were plot decisions that I felt disrupted the flow of the story. For instance, the author incorporated short chapters of other people around the world and briefly described their situations. Most times, these strangers had it worse than the McGullicuddys because they were alone. Though, I can probably see the author’s point in trying to emphasize the strong family ties within the central family, it was pretty distracting each time a random story came up.
The only other aspect that I feel could have been improved is shortening Robert’s blog posts. It was clear from the two or three blog posts White included in this read that Robert had very strong opinions of the world. However, there was at least one that seemed to have gone on and on, pages upon pages, of what seemed like complaining about the world. I had to really stop myself from skimming these because I just wanted to get back to the story. (Mini-SPOILER: I was hoping that Robert was going to start blogging about his dad as to not forget about him – he doesn’t).
Overall, this was an enjoyable read that I was happy to pick up. If those two aspects were worked on a bit more, then this book would have received a full 5-star rating.