I really enjoyed Alix Ohlin's novel, which centres on the lives of four troubled and complex characters. The book is a Giller finalist, but I've been persuading people who typically avoid reading "literature" to read this book. The book is very accessible and is a touching and page-turning read. The application of psychology, and the desires we humans feel to help others, [to save others], is key for the novel. The book looks at very real and terrible issues, such as suicide, teen pregnancy, sexuality, and one's self-worth.
The narratives are very distinct and will draw the reader into the troubled lives of Grace, Mitch and Annie. Inside is a touching and memorable read that stuck with me long after I finished it. The book is well-written and the plot lines of the characters support each other while also stand on their own as their own realistic and slightly tragic story.
There is a darkness to everyone, even if you can't see it. The book puts a lot of weight on that you can't always see what's going on inside a person. You can't know their darkest secrets and what's weighing them down. You can't always help someone, no matter how hard you try. The world is a bitter and difficult place and not everyone copes well with the problems life deals us.
The characters were easy to imagine in my mind. I felt like I knew them and sometimes, that I was suffering along with them. As someone who has seen and dealt with friends and family who have suffered silently and alone with depression, anxiety, and the like, this novel really hit home with me.
This book was fantastic and a worthy contestant for the Giller! Ohlin is a talented writer, capable of weaving an intense and emotional story that will stay with you. I expect she will continue to provide wonderful pieces of Canadian literature.