The Half-Life of Hannah By Nick Alexander
Here's what I thought of it anyway
I downloaded this book cos I have read a fair few of Mr Alexander's books and enjoyed them. Firstly, I found the book to be very well balanced. Yes, it starts off gently, the chapters switching between the third person "here and now" and the first person (Hannah) "background" which, imo, is necessary for the rest of the book to tie up neatly and didn't distract me from the story one little bit. The whole book starts to build steadily into the crescendo and (never saw that coming) twist at the end, finishing neatly sewn up but also leaving the story open for further continuation either from the author or, in my case cos I felt I knew the characters well enough by then, from my own imagination.
The characters were real and very well fleshed out. At times during the book I really felt for them, both positively and negatively. I laughed with them, I shouted at them, I worried for them and, I also have to admit, I cried with them too. I have always found this author to be great at characterisation and this book was no exception. I suspect he has been out and about sharpening up his people watching skills.
I also really enjoyed the style of writing. As already mentioned, there is a mix of 1st and 3rd person and yes, admittedly, it did take a little bit of getting used to but after a few chapter switches I settled into the swing of it very well. However, just when I found myself ticking along nicely, the author pops another style into the mix in the form of letters. So now we have three styles to get on with and blow me down if it doesn't work perfectly.
The story itself is much more than just the return of a lost love, it is about family and friends, their personal interaction and looking into each other's lives and the comparison of what we see and what is actually there and how much really is just a mask. For me, it was a reminder that you really don't know what is happening behind closed doors, even in your own house.
All in all, another winner from Mr Alexander. I would dearly love him to continue with either this story or at least some of the characters from it, so I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for more from him.