After a few weeks away, I'm finally finding a spare moment to finish writing about "Before We Were Yours". After finishing the entire book, the main conclusion was that while the story was absolutely amazing it felt like I had just finished reading two totally separate books by two separate authors. Wingate chose to tell the story through three separate characters, swapping narrators with each chapter to advance the story a bit at a time.
The book is written in a multiple person format, which did take some getting used to at first, particularly as the switch between characters could be jarring at times between chapters. Interestingly enough, the story as told by Avery Stafford is stylistically written very differently than the story as told by Rill Foss and May Crandall . It's almost like reading two different books. So far, I have preferred the voice and narration of Rill and May. These characters feel very real and very grounded to me, like the author based them on someone she knew well. The story swells and builds around Rill and May, until your heart clenches and you're holding your breath with each page turn.
We tend to think of materialism and a desire to hold on to and collect physical objects as a modern day enigma, one born of mass production and fast fashion. Imagine my surprise when this theme popped up unexpectedly in the strangest of places, the final chapters of The Little House on the Prairie. The book ends dramatically when the Ingalls family finds their homestead, along with a few of their neighbors, is unintentionally but illegally located on Indian Land. Rather than face the soldiers tasked with removing these settlers by force, Pa decides it's best for the family to move along before the soldiers arrive.
This weekend, I went on a bit of a book bender and read The House By the Lake and Everything We Keep. A historical fiction that bounces between pre-WWII Europe and San Francisco, The House on the Lake was a quick, if not totally satisfying, read.