"This was the pornography of grief. Going back and remembering a dead person's life, step by step." p. 190
Elin Hilderbrand has these books that look like perfect summer reads. I have a few of her books in my TBR pile and all they have the beach on them! So I was excited to have the opportunity to review The Castaways and see if these books are as good as they look.
Quite honestly, The Castaways starts out a bit depressing, with the death of one fourth of 4 couples who spend all their time together and might be just a little too close. This couple is out sailing on their 12th anniversary and drown. But the story is really about these messed up relationships and how the remaining couples sort out the twisted, tangled mess their lives have become.
Hilderbrand is a good writer, her characters are well developed, I had a strong sense of who they were. The book takes turns sharing from the perspective of each in third person...detailing how each individual is dealing with the death of their friends and sharing the important details from the past. I did find it jarring that sometimes it was written as if the characters knew they were telling this story. For example, at one point it would say, "She'll tell this story" Which almost seemed like it could have been a note the author had to self. This came up enough to be irritating to me, and is not a technique I enjoyed. Aside from that, however, great writing!
I was in a reading funk and this was a good book to pull me out. It's a complete soap opera....if you have 4 couples this close you better bet they aren't all being faithful to their spouses and there's lots of behavior like that. I do think it's a good beach read for that element, but because there is so much grief and sorrow in the book, it's not a laugh-out-loud kind of book. And I only liked a few of the characters, there were a few storylines that bored me. I felt particularly sympathetic to Phoebe's story (and horrified by it) and while I was interested in Delilah's story, she got on my nerves in a big way.
I really did enjoy this book, though! I didn't want to put it down, I was interested in finding out what happened, and because each character held a small piece of the puzzle, it was necessary to watch each narrative unfold. Recommended right now as a good read for summer. I could almost smell the sunscreen and taste the strawberries!
Things You Might Want to Know: Sex. Language. Drug Use. Whatever might be found in a soap opera? Found in this book.
The Castaways is available everywhere now, including Amazon and is published by Little, Brown. (Hachette Book Group)