Kindle Edition, 262 pages
Published April 7th, 2016
I don’t know ’bout you, but one of my favourite things is discovering a great read out of the blue. I went into this one rather blank, expecting to get a mediocre kind of read. You know, nothing bad, but nothing mind-blowing either. I believe I was two chapters in and already thought…
…dis shit is geeeewd!
Okay, fuck the Goodreads synopsis. It doesn’t do the book any justice (Liis wrote a great post about blurbs yesterday you should totally check out) because it’s too long and it contains a few minor spoilers that will be much nicer to discover on your own. Let’s see if I can describe the story myself without giving too much away.
We follow the lives of three women: Lorraine, Lexy, and Ella. Lorraine and Ella are sisters living in Seattle and San Diego respectively. Lexy is Lorraine’s au pair from London. The women’s stories are told by using alternating point of views.
Two people go missing and every chapter drops one or more clues about what happened to them. Or does it? The story keeps you guessing throughout the entire book and nothing gets revealed too soon.
So now you still don’t know Jack shit. Which is good!
“How am I supposed to know if I will like it?”, you might wonder. I can only tell you my personal experience with the book and you can base your decision on that *drops mic*.
*picks up mic again* The writing. The writing is great! As I said before, it keeps you guessing about what the hell happened, turning this into a fast-paced read because ONLY ONE MORE PAGE! Right, this book kept me up way past my bedtime and I might’ve even slapped myself awake at some point because I was dozing off while at the same time, my brain was telling me “MUST…KNOW…what happens next…“.
It didn’t help that the build-up intensified with each chapter. Just when I thought I knew it all, something like this happened:
Pardon all the French, by the way. Danielle told me I could swear all I want in my review so, as you can see, I’m taking full advantage of it. When it comes to the language being used in the book…
“It smells like someone took a shit on lavender flowers, with a dead rodent not far away.”
…you can see why she doesn’t have a problem with it. It’s raw yet oddly poetic at times, plus has a nice vocabulary.
Give it Back is not all mystery and suspense; it also touches some of the most painful subjects of life in a beautifully realistic way. One of the quotes I loved and highlighted:
“If you know what love is -parental, spousal, or any type for that matter – it’s the worst punishment because you won’t be able to live the same life you did after it’s gone.“
So why am I not giving it 5 brownies? There are a couple of reasons for that, actually. The most important one is the ending. Just when everything is tied up nicely, there are a few more pages (like an epilogue to an epilogue) which could’ve been taken out in my opinion. Maybe they’re hinting at a sequel, which I honestly hope not because this book is perfect as a standalone novel.
Then, there’s a case of meandering tense sometimes. I’m not talking about the going back and forth in time, that was done brilliantly. I’m talking about the actual text itself. Everything is written in the present tense, yet sometimes it gets a bit confusing when it’s mixed with a past tense.
Lexie’s British. I feel like her POV could’ve been more British as well. I’m pretty sure they use the word ‘lift’ there instead of ‘elevator’, for example.
And then a final thing which got me worked up a little is one of the characters mentioning antidepressants can’t be taken during pregnancy. It’s a common misconception, and an understandable one, but to all the women who think they need to quit taking their SSRI’s when pregnant/trying to get pregnant: you don’t have to. As far as I know, only Prozac can be harmful and then also only when taken in a certain (higher) dosage.
How the hell do I know this? I love studying medical things (I didn’t choose my current studies for naught) and read a considerable amount of scientific literature on this topic. Without getting into it too deeply, just another word of advice to these women: talk to a specialist, your regular physician might not be up to date with this either.
Back to the book. Because of the reasons above, I’m deducting only half a brownie from my rating, because guys, this book is awesome! Highly recommended stuff. If you’re a fragile butterfly, however, I suggest skipping it and going for something a little less dark.
Baie dankie to Danielle Esplin for providing me with a copy of her book in exchange for an honest opinion!
Links to the book:
~About the Author~
Danielle Esplin studied Food Science with Chemistry at the University of Stellenbosch. She had a full-ride scholarship and was one of the top students. After three years of sleepless nights in the library and endless experiments in the laboratory, she realized that something was missing.
And that was writing fiction.
Without telling anyone, she packed
her bags, waved her twin sister good-bye,
trudged down the street and got on a bus
to leave the country. When she crossed
the border and entered Namibia, she
switched her phone on and sent
her mother a text. “I dropped out of University,”
she wrote and never looked back.
In Namibia, among the countless dunes that appeared like a half-closed girdle nestling the everlasting sea, her desire to write surfaced. Ever since she has been pursuing her dream to become a full-time writer. Danielle also loves to travel, and she writes about her adventures on her blog www.exploringmyplanet.com.
Today she lives with her husband in Seattle with her two pet rats, Skippy and Milo. In her spare time, she likes to sing, read or spend time with family and friends.