My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Andi Alpers is having a hard time with life, and living it in general. Her dad has never really been a part of her life, and ever since her brother, Truman, was killed her mother has checked out as well. Andi deals by popping antidepressant pills that sometimes cause her to hallucinate, drowning herself in her music or a guy, but every now and then she still finds herself standing at the edge of life looking for a way out.
Things begin to change when Andi’s father gets a letter from her school informing him that she is failing most of her classes and that she is headed toward expulsion. At her house he feels Andi’s mother is behaving clinically depressed and has her committed to a hospital, and whisks Andi off to Paris for her Winder Vacation. It is in Paras where Andi discovers a diary from the eighteenth century girl by the name of Alexandrine Paradis. Alexandrine’s story begins to work itself into Andi’s life so much that Andi finds herself unable to focus on much else.
This is one of those books that is very hard for me to actually rate, because on one hand I can’t actually say that the book captivated me in such a way that I couldn’t walk away. I wasn’t bored, while I was listening to it I was into the story and wanted to know what happened, but I had to stop I didn’t find myself rushing back to it to find out what happens next. On the other hand, this book had so many interwoven parts and was written so well that it is impossible to say that it wasn’t a great book.
I loved the music that was interwoven through this whole book. The music took on it’s own life and became such a great part of story. I loved it when Andi went through an entire musical history of chord progressions.
I think the problem with this book was the underlying depression in it. All the way up until the end, there really is not much relief, which makes sense for the type of book that it is. Andi does her healing through Alexandrine’s life, as well as with help from a friend. She learns that she is actually afraid of dying and she learns how to move forward and begin living again, but all of this is saved for the very end. The entire book is melancholy, while mixed with a bit of sarcasm here and there, it does make for a bit of a downer of a book.
It is worth it to read this book though. The historical aspects are interesting, and the characters are real. It is very well written. I feel like despite it’s darkness, the book does show hope and healing, and it also shows how it is important to stand up for what you believe in, even if it might be a lost cause.