44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
HEART-WRENCHING!, 7 Jan 2002
It sounds melodramatic, but this book took my heart and squeezed every drop of emotion out of it.
Having read some of the other reviews here,it seems other people have also been profoundly effected by this book - so that makes me feel slightly less embarrassed! Although one shouldn't be ashamed to be moved by such a beautifully written work of fiction anyway.
Since finishing it two days ago I've walked around physically exhausted, with a weight in my guts, as if the events described here happened to me personally.
Without giving too much away...O'Farrell has created some central characters that the reader really can fall in love his(or her)self, making the eventual outcome all the more affecting.
The small details of intimacy - such as Alice standing behind John and pulling 'shaving' faces at him in the mirror - all add up to deliver a real emotional blow as events unfold.
Although the jump in narrative from 3rd to 1st person is unexpected at first, it never 'jars' and the flow continues smoothly. A multiple perspective enhances the story, rather than distracting from it.
I think everyone will be able to relate to this poignant tale, whether they have experienced the many issues raised or not.
One word of advice: don't read this book in public - unless you don't mind complete strangers coming up and offering you wads of Kleenex!