on 12 October 2011
This is Linda Green's fourth novel and I've read and enjoyed every one... and yet it was different. Different because rather than a chick lit genre, which the previous three fit into more, this one tackles a very grown-up topic.
It flows so well that I raced through it, eager to find out what happens to Adam who is put into a coma when the "And then it happened" incident occurs (without spoiling it)... what will happen, what will happen to Mel and Adam's idyllic life.
It's happy, sad, poignant, painful... plus everything that a new and original topic should bring you - being informative and entertaining by equal measure.
If I had any criticism it would be that Mel and Adam are too perfect, even with the cracks that appear.
We all love a happy ending, but there's no guarantees, as there aren't in life, and sticking to what appears to be reality (without having much knowledge of the topic before now) is admirable.
The postscript (Linda's real-life experiences of this topic) really did bring the issue to life and, in a way, I wish I had read that first so that I understood exactly the knowledgeable base that the plot was rooted in.
All in all a damn good read. Different, a welcome change from the usual boy meets girl, has hiccup, resolves situation.
on 5 January 2012
Firstly I have to mention that I am a fan of Linda Green novels and have read all of them to date. I enjoyed this novel just as much as the other three even though this one has a very different storyline. The way 'it' happens is very imaginative when I first got the book I assumed that 'it' would be an affair of some sort or Mel's big secret coming out. Towards the end of the book I was starting to get slightly confused over Adam's state of mind being the way it was during his recovery when we'd been with him throughout the story but after reading the authors notes at the end this cleared the confusion and made me look at the story a whole different way. A good way. A way that leaves me still thinking about the book hours after finishing it and a way that has left me with knowledge on a subject I knew very little about.
There are a few things I didn't enjoy, the first being that I did not like the character of Mel. I don't know what it was about her but I just couldn't warm to her at all. Also the sub-plot with Steve wasn't enjoyable for me mainly because I guessed pretty quickly what was going to be revealed there.
The other things I didn't enjoy are mainly about the authors style of writing. Like I said at the start of my review I am a fan, however, I find her books are very 'product placement' heavy. Pretty much every conversation added in the name of a TV show, a movie, a book or a general product itsef. It feels like reading a magazine sometimes and makes me wonder if the author gets commission for mentioning these things in her books! (I kid, but that is what it feels like). I realise this could just be the authors way of making her novels more personal but for me I find it quite irritating. Lastly, whenever a child is a main character in a Linda Green novel she doesn't seem to quite understand the age the child is supposed to be. The child in this book, Maya, is supposed to be 4 years old but a lot of the things this child says and does are the actions of someone a lot older than 4. I felt the same when reading 10 Reasons Not To Fall In Love with the young baby, Alfie, who said clear sentences and seemed to understand what was going on around him at the very young age of 2.
Despite the negatives there are always more positives and I look forward to reading the next novel from Linda Green when it is available.
on 22 November 2011
The book tells the story of a marriage, between Adam and Mel, a professional couple in their early thirties who are about to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary and the twentieth year of their relationship. At the start they are, if anything, too cloyingly perfect, the only cloud on their horizon being the superstitious - guilt-induced? - conviction held by Mel that something bad is lurking in wait for them. And how right she is! When the crisis arrives the plot really takes off, and how it is all going to end is totally unpredictable - the urge to keep turning pages increases in line with the pressure on the characters. The author maintains a taut construction to the novel by means of alternating the point of view between the two main characters - but maybe even that device is not quite as it seems. Besides Adam and Mel the Dramatis Personae includes their daughter Maya, Mel's parents, and friends Steve and Louise - all beautifully written and masterfully created and animated. The novel explores the effect on family life and other relationships of a crisis which is literally 'mind-blowing'. The narrative is underpinned by meticulous research into some very complex human issues, and the result is a stonking good read which is also very informative. And don't be misled by the book's external appearance - I was glad to discover that the typically 'chick-lit' cover design is in fact misleading and inappropriate. This is no 'read and forget about in a couple of hours' book, but a high-quality, serious and totally adult literary novel. You won't want to put it down!
on 11 December 2011
First of all I try and promise NOT to ramble on to much and give you a straight up honest opinion, so here it is:
And then it happened was the first book I have read of Linda Greens, got this book in Tesco along with some cookies and other very healthy food (honest!). I got home and started to read and thought, that maybe the typical story line would be that Adam would cheat on Mel and then there happiness would be destroyed. However, the book was absolutely breathing in imagination and emotion, at times I felt upset and angry at myself for thinking why is Mel putting up with so much, when she can get help through such a tough situation. Then I realised, the power of love and commitment is something far fetched for someone of my age group. At 20 years old I can be alittle naive, as understandable, but the power of love Mel has for Adam is tremendous, and the time and energy she puts into believing in something for so long, gives you faith.
The story is powerful and I was eager to find out the ending, which was absolutely true to how a marriage should end or be. The way Mel feels she would be willing to cross the millions of miles ahead of her is a beautiful take on the story line.
I have given this story four stars because at some points the story dragged on alittle, for a few pages but nothing to drastic. I hate skipping pages, but I didn't seem to miss much when I did.
But this is a definate must read and has quite a few twists to keep the story alive.
Happy Reading !
on 6 October 2011
And Then It Happened could very well be Linda Green's break-out novel. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the other two books of hers I've read but And Then It Happened is on an entirely different level. I'm loathe to say it's "grown-up", as if her other novels were immature or something, but it does have a different feel than her other books. The plot is much more hard-hitting, much more unique than your regular boy-meets-girl fare and anybody who goes around saying Chick Lit is about shoes and shopping and Mr Right will be proven infinitely wrong when they pick up this book as there is nothing of the sort in And Then It Happened. It's one of the most touching books I think I will ever read; in terms of emotion it's up there with Marian Keyes and you can just tell that Linda Green poured so much time and effort in to making sure she got everything spot-on with this book.
I am going to tell you what the book is about; I can't review it otherwise, I can't keep the mysterious synopsis alive and kicking because otherwise I can't review it properly. I'm not spoiling the book, not really, but if you want to remain oblivious to what happens, I suggest you stop reading. Like I said, there's no spoilers, so there's no need to shout, but I am going to discuss what the "it" is that happens to Mel and Adam. Chick Lit books, it has to be said, rarely veer from happy-ever-afters. When you read a Chick Lit book you expect everything to go swimmingly; you expect that everything come the last page of the novel will be perfect and brilliant and the characters will live long and happy lives together. Green, however, has flipped that coin and she starts out with the happy-ever-after. Adam and Mel have been together almost twenty years, married for 10, with a beautiful girl, perfect house, perfect jobs... Until Adam loses a fight with a dinosaur and ends up in a coma. Mel and Adam's worlds are turned upside-down and inside-out as Mel has to come to terms with the fact that her husband may forever be in a vegetative state. It's a brave move from Green to focus on such a subject, make no mistake, to do a happy-ever-after novel in reverse, but it works. Boy, does it work.
Like I say, it's rare for novels to deal with medical issues like comas and being in a vegetative state but I found it fascinating. It's easy to have a book that's all sweetness and light, so it's nice to, once in a while, have a book come along that makes you wonder what you would do in that situation. Would I be brave enough, like Mel is, to look after someone I loved even in that kind of state? Would I be able to cope the way Mel does? I found it all to be so very readable and it's a subject and an issue that's so rarely dealt with and I felt Green managed to write about it perfectly. The emotion was the main thing for me. The way Mel and Adam felt for each other after so long together, to see the perfection come crumbling and to see Mel have to deal with their daughter Maya by herself, without Adam by her side, was heartbreaking. Who knows what the right thing to do is when your husband is lying stuck in a bed constantly for days, weeks, months, on end. Mel's coping ability and Maya's constant cheeriness were both admirable and amazing. I loved how Mel's parents rallied round and how Mel's best friend Louise and Adam's best friend Steve rallied round, but what got me most of all was Mel's constant belief that Adam would be back to being himself one day, her belief was just unshakeable.
And Then It Happened really was a work of art. I was captivated by the story, captivated by Mel and Adam's love for each other, captivated by the writing. (You could say it was rather captivating...) The book was just really hard for me to put down and I had absolutely no idea how it was all going to pan out; whether Adam and Mel would ever get back to how they were before the accident, whether Adam would recover... There were so many questions and, in the end, we were given a very satisfactory ending. It was rather open-ended, in a way, perhaps paving the way for a sequel? But it was a satisfying ending. I hugely enjoyed the book, it was really nice to read something a bit different and it was made an even more poignant read when I read Linda's notes at the back of the book and where her inspiration for the book came from. There's been a lot of thought, and a lot of emotion poured into the novel and that's evident from the very beginning right the way to the very end. It was a triumph, and I hope Linda will continue to tackle a more lesser-used plot in her next book!