Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs

The Perfect Comeback of Caroline JacobsThe Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs by Matthew Dicks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Don't we all have a moment or moments in our childhoods that shaped us, nudged the trajectories of our lives just a little bit, changing the course of who we would become? For Caroline Jacobs, a meek mouse of a woman, these included losing her father, her best friend, and her sister. The wounds of adolescence molded her into a conflict-averse mother and a talented photographer afraid to risk rejection. And then one day, at a PTO meeting, an insult aimed at someone else snaps her virtual bonds.

The next day, when her teenage daughter, Polly, defends her and is threatened with suspension, Caroline impulsively busts her out and takes her on a road trip to Caroline's childhood home to confront the memories that haunt her. Along the way, she finally shares the stories shadowing her life and slowly begins to reconnect with her stubborn, strong, independent daughter.

Every story has different perspectives, though, and Caroline begins to see the shades of grey in differing realities, eventually learning to forgive herself as well as others for their all-too-human mistakes.

I loved this book! The only things holding me back from a 5-star rating are the contradictions and errors that might have been the result of it being an advance copy that I read courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. I'm hoping the final edits caught the timeline confusion regarding how old Caroline was when her father left, and so on. Details like that yanked me out of the story a few times, which was frustrating. Otherwise, though, it was a great story with well-developed, nuanced characters who evolved over the course of the novel.

For readers' advisors: character doorway is primary, story secondary. Some swearing. No sex or onscreen violence, other than someone accidentally falling through glass.

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