Bright Stars

Bright Stars - Sophie Duffy

This was a solid and absolutely British book.


I don't mean that in a bad way at all; I have a bit of Anglophilia (like most bibliophiles, I guess), and I really enjoyed it, but it requires some immersion in the culture that might be difficult for some people.


It's hard to say much about the characters that doesn't sound like complaining. It's not that I didn't kind of like them, but I can't really be sure what it was that I was rooting for at almost any point. Some of them were complete bastards throughout, some of them were okay people with huge, alarming blind spots that caused no end of bad things in their lives. I suppose, in the end, they were probably pretty normal people, and that is why I was rooting for them, but I can't really say that I had a favorite character or that I really ever quite liked any of them.


The story is intriguing because it does that back-and-forth-in-time thing that I love so much. Not time travel, no, the other one, where we get bits and pieces of the backstory as time goes on. I've always found that fun, and I enjoyed piecing things together, given it is unclear at the beginning what exactly it is that has caused all of these relationships to fracture.


This is very much a book about fractured relationships. Not primarily romantic relationships, either, which was refreshing. This is a story about handling the past in a rational way that makes sense personally, and about putting yourself together again after tragedy strikes.


All of this makes it sound like the book is either more depressing or more uplifting than it actually is. It is not a tragic story, I don't feel, but it is not one of those "everything is for the best" stories, either. It's a story about people. People who mess up and then have to deal, often long-term, with the ramifications of their messing up. People who make bad decisions that aren't life-ending, but do affect them. It's an everyday kind of story, but that's not a bad thing.


I enjoyed the way it was written. Not just the going back-and-forth bits, but the voice of Cameron and the little footnotes. I love footnotes in fiction. They are rare, but oh-so-fun, and these were often the kind of little sarcastic asides that helped to flesh out his personality and make him feel real.


The ending kind of came out of the blue a bit, and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I don't mind where and how things ended up, but the abruptness with which everything happened felt off after the rest of the pacing of the book.


All in all, though, I quite enjoyed the read and I'll probably be picking up some more books by Sophie Duffy.


This book was provided to me for free by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.