Momma Leighellen's Book Review
“Memor Amici. Remember Friends.” – The Divines
The Divines a tough one to review. In some instances this book is brilliant and deserves 5 stars. The writing is incredible and I devoured the book in one sitting. But at the same time, it’s hard to really like any of the characters, the plot is unsettling, and there was enough cringe inducing moments that left a bad taste in my mouth. Who wants to relive high school? There’s a reason we put our past behind us.
The story unfolds as a dual timeline, with present day Josephine newly married, then pregnant. She wrestles with demons from her past. An unsettling encounter with a stranger on her honeymoon and a box in her moms attic full of mementos begins to unravel Josephines perception of reality and history. As she tries to recall what happened her final year in school, she may not be the person she thinks she is.
“when we met, I had just come out of turbulent, itinerant period of life and, exhausted, I found his particular brand of considered quietude seductive.”
The other side of the story simultaneously follows Jo, as she was called as a teen, as she attends a pretentious all girls boarding school. Plenty of hazing, drinking, and sexual encounters occurred during those years and friendships were not very kind.
Eventually her world’s collide and Josephine needs to come to grips with who she was then and who she wants to be now. The author does an amazing job of addressing the random assortment of uncomfortable topics we are immersed in as teens. From sex and bullying to cliques and puberty – I squirmed in my seat at the glimpses of the past phases. I would not call The Divines a pleasurable read, as it is unnerving, but it also is masterfully done.
As the story progresses, the present day scenes suddenly skip actual YEARS while the past follows the original timeline. Sadly the ending seemed rushed and abrupt. but maybe the shock value was what she was going for. While I did not enjoy this book, I will be talking about it for awhile, much like I did Jar of Hearts. Overall, a solid debut and I think this will be an author to watch. You can purchase it here or here.
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