Sunday, April 17, 2016

Book Review: This Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquets

A new favorite hobby of mine is getting Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of books and reviewing them. I love reading and have found that reviewing books helps me internalize what I have read. Reviewing books also helps me get over a "book hangover". In my mind, once I've written the review, there is this documentation of how the book affected me, and this allows me to move on and fall in love with a new book.

I recently joined the "Early Reviews" group on "LibraryThing" to increase my collection of ARCs. I've received a couple e-books, but this month was the first time I was selected to receive a physical book. Enter This Too Shall Pass . . .

This Too Shall Pass is a contemporary fiction novel originally published in Spanish in 2014 by Milena Busquets. Hogarth Books is releasing and English language version on May 24, 2016 through Penguin Random House.

The novel follows Blanca, a 40 year old single mother of two, whose mother has recently passed away. Blanca's mother had played a vital role in Blanca's life, and without her, Blanca is struggling to find her way through her day to day life. She is going through the motions and looking everywhere and anywhere to find meaning in her life and just a little bit of love. She turns to her ex-husbands, her friends, and her childhood home in CadaquƩs.

As I was reading this book, I had mixed feelings. I did not relate to Blanca very much as a person as her lifestyle and life choices were very different from my own, but on the emotional level, I found her very easy to empathize with. I felt that the character development and writing style were not ideal for following the progression of a linear plot, but the descriptions of the emotional states of Blanca and how acute her loss was were amazing. There was this disjointed pattern to the writing that I felt almost mimicked the fractured state of mind one is in when grieving a loved one. The novel had this wonderfully vulnerable and open quality to it that I really responded too.

While I would not say this is one of my favorite books, I think it is worth a read. It was not terribly long, less than 200 pages, so it isn't a "long-term" commitment and although I may not have related to Blanca as a character, this book moved me.

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