Monday, 9 June 2014

The Right Thing

Author: Amy Connor
Genre: Modern Fiction
Type: Kindle e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Kensington Books
First Published: May 27, 2014
First Line: "Jackson, Mississippi, 1990 -- I am thirty-five years old and running out of time."

Book Description from GoodReads: On a scorching August day in 1963, seven-year-old Annie Banks meets the girl who will become her best friend. Skinny, outspoken Starr Dukes and her wandering preacher father may not be accepted by polite society in Jackson, Mississippi, but Annie and Starr are too busy sharing secrets and playing elaborate games of Queen for a Day to care. Then, as suddenly as she appeared in Annie's life, Starr disappears.

Annie grows up to follow the path ordained for pretty, well-to-do Jackson women--marrying an ambitious lawyer, filling her days with shopping and charity work. She barely recognizes Starr when they meet twenty-seven years after that first fateful summer, but the bond formed so long ago quickly re-emerges. Starr, pregnant by a powerful married man who wants her to get out of town, has nowhere to turn. And Annie, determined not to fail her friend this time, agrees to drive Starr to New Orleans to get money she's owed.

During the eventful road trip that follows, Annie will confront the gap between friendship and responsibility between her safe, ordered existence and the dreams she's grown accustomed to denying.

Moving, witty, and beautifully told, The Right Thing is a story of love and courage, the powerful impact of friendship, and the small acts that can anchor a life--or, with a little luck, steer it in the right direction at last.

Disclaimer:  My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Kengsington Books for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My ReviewThe Right Thing is, in essence, a coming of age story for two unlikely friends, Annie and Starr.  It's a story about friendship, learning to love yourself and that all of our choices have consequences. 

We see Annie struggle between doing the 'right thing' and doing the right thing for her own happiness.  Starr, on the other hand, came off a little to clichéd for my tastes and didn't have nearly the character development that we saw in Annie.   She was refreshing, to say the least, but I would have loved to have gotten her side of things as the story weaves back and forth from the present day to the girls' childhood in the 1960's.

Normally I'm not an overly emotional reader so I was pleasantly surprised at how well The Right Thing pulled emotional feelings out of me.  From laughing at the Queen for a Day incident, to seeing a glimpse into Starr's family life, to feeling Annie's devastating loss the author was able to get me to feel for what the characters were going through.

I suppose the one thing that would have upped my rating is if their 'eventful road trip' was a bit more exciting.  I was expecting the road trip to be more of a Thelma and Louise-type trip but in the end it was just OK and a lot briefer than I was expecting.  With the predictable ending that packaged things up a little too nicely, I just couldn't give this book higher marks.

I will say that the writing in this debut novel was solid, the character development was fair and the premise was promising.  This was a very easy, laid back read and people with connections to the South will especially love the southern touches.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

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