As a personal rule, I will read “book club picks” and celebrity book club picks, to confirm if they are worth reading and if this was an unbiased pick. As a book club and expert reader, I read these novels with a high level of skepticism since most of those picks seem to be a marketing strategy for many publishing houses.
It happened once with The Maid by Nina Prose that, although the book was entertaining, it lacked everything to be considered a book club pick, or Where the Crawdads Sings, which was Reese’s pick. However, other books have the potential to change someone’s life.
This time, I read Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano, and I could recommend it as a light book club pick.
Is Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano worth reading?
The story spins around the dysfunctional relationship of three sisters and the fourth and oldest sister. The dynamic of the relationship between these sisters transcends time and space. Throughout almost 30 years, the sisters change, evolve, and make decisions that will impact everybody’s relationships and lives.
Many have considered this novel to be slow and uneventful; however, listening to this audiobook allowed me to double to speed up the narration, improving the overall experience with the story. – I listen to most of my books at that speed as I am very intense and want to get to the end of the book as soon as possible.
The oldest sister and her mother, Julia and Rose made questionable decisions that affected the nuclear family. Rose started from her prejudice and need to save face due to patriarchy, religion, or both. While Julia, on the other hand, decided to lie, manipulate, and “mold” someone to have a perfect fairy-tale life. However, these two characters are primordial igniters of conflict and the story.
As the novel progresses and the characters move on with their lives, Napolitano posts many questions and events that changed the lives of the characters, which makes the readers wonder how they would react and whether the reader will make a different decision or take the same path. With an empathetic portrayal of depression and mental health originating from family dynamics and trauma, like the death of a father, the death of a sister, and the inability of the characters to open up to the world and feel their emotions, Ann Napolitano slowly develops each character towards a full circle finale.
Done with precision, empathy, and love, Ann Napolitano delivers a novel that, even too on the nose for its questions and answers, will give you so much to think and talk about for your book clubs or own enjoyment and self-character development.
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