Sunday, December 27, 2015
Review - Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Paul
Jules, her sister Joanne, and her brother Andrew all grew up in the same household―but their varying views of and reactions to their experiences growing up have made them all very different people. Now, as adults with children of their own, they are all faced with the question of what to do to help their parents, who insist on maintaining the upscale lifestyle they’re accustomed to despite their mounting debts. A deft exploration of the ever-shifting covenants between parents and children, Things Unsaid is a ferocious tale of family love, dysfunction, and sense of duty over forty years
My Review - 3
I thought this would be a beautiful and potential emotional read, but I wasn't impressed with the execution. I finished it which is why it gets a 3 but I really didn't enjoy any of the characters, the parents I really despised, how can anyone feel that entitled with family, be that selfish, just shocking. And due to the foundation and morals they lacked, the entitlement was passed on to siblings, putting all the responsibility on the oldest daughter Jules.
What a fool she had been - so blind, so driven to be a good daughter and get her parents' approval, to prove she was a better person than either one of them. Children took care of their aging parents, didn't they? Mustn't they?
I am pleased that the author didn't try to make us like the characters and I didn't feel like it was for shock appeal but the term dysfunction does not do this family justice. The mom was manipulative and inappropriate in every way, looks meant more than common sense, love and life.
The whole way through I felt sorry for Jules. There is always that sibling that takes the meaning of caring for parents, family to the extreme without knowing it, is it an obligation? Jules hits bottom before understanding what makes her happy and who her obligation should be to.
Once you have your own family, husband and children, who becomes first? This would be a great discussion. I have had many conversations with friends on this topic. How much do you sacrifice financially, mentally and personal happiness to give to your family you was born in vs the family you have created?
As an adult, it is still hard to make decisions when it is your parents even though it would be best for all. I cannot say how much I didn't like the parents, terrible in every way. The daughter Joanne tried to be like the mom. Andrew tried his best to distance himself, he probably did the best with balance but he had a historic secret that wasn't completely revealed but I definitely knew.
It is a worthwhile story if the premise intrigues you. You may appreciate the execution more than me but you won't like the parents I'm sure.