Book Review: Arms Wide Open by Tom Winter
May 1, 2014 4 Comments
Arms Wide Open: What it is about
From the publishers: “Jack and Meredith are non-identical twins; the only similarity between them is their lives rapidly falling apart. Jack’s high-flying career in advertising has crashed and burned. Meredith’s world is also crumbling – a decomposing yogurt in her fridge now a symbol of her failed marriage. Her children, Jemima and Luke, offer little support, too consumed with the worlds of online dating and amateur taxidermy.
All their lives, Jack and Meredith believed their father to be dead. One day, a throwaway comment leads Jack to question this, but with their mother fading ever-deeper into the grip of dementia, answers are hard to come by. As revelations start to untangle, the twins soon learn that what you seek is not always what you find…”
Arms Wide Open: What I thought
This is a really good story about a family: divorced mother Meredith, her two kids, and her brother Jack. There were several story lines that were all interesting: Meredith trying to keep her life together, Jack not working (what’s wrong with him?), their mother with dementia, the daughter’s interest in online dating (on her terms), and the search for the father of Meredith and Jack. It made for a fun and easy read (but with some serious undertones).
The story is seen from several different characters. This worked really well, because the reader knows everything the characters know, but they don’t know everything the others know. I liked this especially with the online dating of Jemima, which her mother knew nothing about. Things go wrong, of course, with one date not what he seemed. But the dating storyline also touches on a different storyline, which was really funny.
We follow the family in the current time, but also go back in the past, going back in steps of five years. Slowly but surely we find out more about Meredith’s and Jack’s background and that of their mother. Eventually, we are so far back in time that we find out more about their father, whom they have never known, while they, in the current time, also discover more about him.
I loved reading about this family and finding out about their secrets. A quick and easy read with a lot (but not too much!) going on, that entertained me from beginning to end.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (very good)
Number of pages: 344
First published: 2014
I got this: from the publishers, Constable & Robinson, for review
Genre: contemporary fiction
Also read: Lost & Found, another 5-star read!