(I apologize in advance for the long review. Happy reading)
When I was first emailed to review this novel I was thinking about turning it down. Reading the description of Hope I found it to be interesting, but I don’t like reading sad books. I prefer to watch a sad movie and read a happy book.
The story of Hope is about a mother's struggle dealing with her little girl, Hope, who is autistic. Juggling between having to deal with a husband who doesn't help out unless it with money and trying to remember that she also has another son, the story of Hope leaves you praying for the families who have children with mental disorders.
The story read to me like a diary. I felt like I was reading a mother's struggle through life with her children and husband. I'm not sure if that's how the story was supposed to read, but I felt like that's what I was reading. In my opinion it read better as a diary than as a book to me. (Though it was not a diary). Reading through the novel I couldn't help but to keep referring to the movie My Sister's Keeper. I'm not sure if you guys have ever read it or seen the movie, but it's about a girl who has cancer and her sister who was born to be a pin cushion and body supplier (bone marrow, blood, etc.) to her sister. Even though dealing with a child who has cancer and dealing with a child with autism don’t correlate with one another, it's what kept ringing in my head as I read it. I didn't want to watch My Sister's Keeper because no matter how much I watched and hoped there to be a happy ending I knew there wasn't going to be. In Hope I had the same feeling. The feeling that no matter how much I wanted to believe that it was going to have its happily ever after, in the back of my mind I knew it was just wishful thinking.
What I liked about the novel is the way the author Victoria Ferrante describe the way that Hope would have a meltdown. It was like you were there watching a her have the meltdown and hearing it piercing your ears. I also enjoyed how the story flowed. One day didn't drag on for a chapter. It was a quick and easy move throughout the story that kept me reading trying to figure out if I was going to be happy with the way the story ended.
What I didn't per se like about the story is somewhat complicated to voice. Bear with me as I try and explain this as clearly as possible without sounding like an idiot :) The main character in the novel frustrated me(Christina) I was having a hard time in some cases feeling sympathy for her character being a character. Does that make sense? Let me explain. If it was a true story I would have without a doubt understood where the character was coming from and why she was the way she was. From a work of fiction there was never a happy moment. I refer back to My Sister's Keeper and even though it was a heart wrenching story there were parts where I felt happy that the character was happy. In Hope I never felt like the character had a moment to breathe. There never seemed to be a happy moment.
It's so hard for me to write this and try to explain. Maybe this is a way to clear what I mean up. Even in the saddest of books that I've read there was always a moment that I was elated with the characters. I didn't feel it in this novel. I felt nothing but sorrow for the mother, but that could have been what the author was going for. To give a true vision to the folks of what it's like to deal with an autistic child.
(novel point of view) I hated reading about the father and how his character didn't seem to really care about how hard Christina worked and tough the situation was for her. (From real life point of view) I understood what would made him frustrated. The same things that made him frustrated were the same things that made me frustrated throughout the story. I was truly surprised he lasted as long as he did. I also have to add though that his weakness seemed to make her stronger. I liked that.
Now for the controversial ending which I will warn you that this might be somewhat of a spoiler. It reminded me of Gone Baby Gone movie. (If you haven't seen it drop everything and run out and rent it :p Just a suggestion!) You ask yourself the question, "What would you do?" How could one judge the ending without being in the situations? I could see people saying that was a terrible ending how could someone do that? Then I could see people saying that they weren't surprised with the amount of stress that Christina felt dealing with her daughter after years of trying to find a cure or at least a solution to deal with the meltdowns and the constant feeling that no matter what you did it wasn’t right. You might ask well what did I think? I thought it was a sad ending to a realistic story. I could without a doubt see it happening. I also believe I've heard of situations like it before. Though reading about it and seeing it on the nightly news is two totally different situations. In the book it's fiction on the news you feel the sadness from it being real and you judge no matter what the person has to say. Reading the book though I didn't feel the same way, I felt as if I understood. I don't feel the same way when I watch the news, but this book has made me see things differently.
I hope this all make sense. I haven't ever written a review where it was a realistic story. Therefore I might be all over the place with my opinion. I recommend picking up a copy of this novel if it's the type of drama that you enjoy reading.