I’m so excited to be part of another book blog tour for J. M. Monaco’s brilliant, How We Remember.
So, what is it about? Here’s the blurb:
Family Secrets. Sibling Rivalries
The blood ties that have kept Jo and her brother Dave together are challenged when an unexpected inheritance fans the flames of underlying tensions. Upon discovering her mother’s diary, the details of their family’s troubled past are brought into sharp relief and painful memories are reawakened.
Narrated with moments of light and dark, J. M. Monaco weaves together past and present, creating a complex family portrait of pain and denial in this remarkable debut novel.
Perfect for fans of Anne Tyler and Sylvia Brownrigg, this is a novel that will stay with you long after you stop turning the pages.
I think it’s interesting that I am doing this book after writing about A Little Bird Told Me by Marianne Holmes. This is another book about the theme of families and everything that associates with a family. I really think that is the theme that ties the book together.
This, for me, was an uncomfortable book to get into. It doesn’t shy away from these big and important themes. There are dark, bold and interesting themes and stories running throughout. Addiction. Abuse. Mental health. Suicide. There is also a great exploration of social class, notably the working classes. It can be harrowing and uncomfortable read but I think Monaco writes it incredibly well. It is a hard and harrowing read but I think it’s important to understand the characters and the overall story a lot more.
The themes might be a hard read but Monaco is a beautiful and brilliant writer. I’d say this was a family drama that is rooted in truth and encompasses a number of huge and impactful themes. It’s about families, how they shape us and how we can be defined by them. The character of Jo is also brilliantly written by Monaco. Through the book, we get a clearer understanding of who she is and why she is the way that she is. Like I said, Monaco is a brilliant and accomplished writer and this shines off the pages.
When reading this, I thought about the books that I have read that is centred around families. It’s a great device in a novel, isn’t it? A family. The characters within the families, the tensions, the joys, the highs and the lows. It made me think off a book that I read as part of my A-Level English Lit, which was centred around a family and had big and impactful themes throughout; but rooted with a great central character, alongside some beautiful and honest prose. I can’t remember what it was called but I think families are a great subject for a novel and people want to read about them – just look at Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere. People want to read them – it’s a universal theme, families. And that’s one of the main things that I took from this book. How families shape our childhood and even into adulthood and how we are (or not) defined by them.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It’s a slow burner sort of a book but it’s worth it. Hard and harrowing themes but necessary to gather an understanding of the characters and the world Monaco has written around it. Monaco is a brilliant and understated writer who writes beautiful prose that keeps you turning the page. If you love a family drama with important and interesting and hard-hitting themes, this one is for you.
A big thank you to Red Door Books for having me be a part of this book tour and my advanced copy! If you want to see what other bloggers/reviewers thought about it, check them out here:
You can also check out J. M. Monaco’s blog here: https://jmmonacofirstperson.wordpress.com
Have you read How We Remember? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!