“There would be bad days, there always would. But she’d collect these good days, each one illuminated, and string them together until they glowed brightly in her memory like Christmas lights in a mirrored room.”
Oona Lockhart is conflicted. It’s New Year’s Eve 1982 and at midnight she will turn 19, with the biggest decision to make: should she move to Europe to study economics, or should she stay in NYC with her boyfriend and her band? And as the countdown to the new year begins, she makes one wish: I wish I didn’t have to chose.
The clock strikes midnight … and she wakes up in 2015. She is 51 years old
This is an absolute gem of a novel, all about a woman living her life out of order. What a premise! So completely my cup of tea, and the story was just as emotional as it promised to be. This one is not a plot-driven novel, and while there were times while reading I felt the bitter sting of missed opportunity, the story does do a very good job of keeping you invested in the characters. I loved the writing style. Very polished and clean, no messing around with purple prose, no focus on imagery. Everything was focused on bringing the characters to life, which Montimore achieved with a clear expertise. All of the characters were enjoyable, likeable, and 100% felt like real people – real people I immediately connected with.
The focus of the story is on Oona’s relationships, and how she learns to navigate them when she is constantly jumping from one year to the next, not knowing how old she’ll be on her next birthday. Dusted in are a few other details, such as how she maintains a cash flow, how she reacts to new technology of the future, learning the future fates of her childhood friends. I do feel the story would have been a lot more well-rounded if there was a bigger focus on Oona herself, her character development, her working life, her hopes and dreams. These elements sort of take a back seat to keep the focus on Oona’s relationships. Sure, we see a lot of character through this, a lot of drama and comedy, turmoil and pathos. But Oona had a lot of potential that was left unexplored. I would have been very interested to see more of her, without anyone else to share the spotlight.
What I loved most is how much this story made me think. I love a novel that gives us a hypothetical. It gets those braincogs turning and churning, gives you that introspective feeling while reading, and long after. Oona Lockhart is a real accomplishment: made me think, made me feel, and most of all, made me excited for what the author is going to bring us next.
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