As a reader, I think a lot about endings. And this novel, though it doesn’t really deal expressly with this concept has an ending that I find pretty satisfying. I won’t mention it because you should just read.
But maybe because we deal so much in movies and genre fiction, we’re uncomfortable a lot of times with books and movies that end when the story is done, but not really with a huge triumphant push at the end. So something like The Sopranos can seem uncomfortable, but something like most superheroes not so much.
A lot of books and movies push back on this. The new Avengers, definitely, but also Lord of the Rings (which NEVER SEEMS TO END says the internet, but is actually perfect at ending), or a movie like The Graduate, where the big triumphant moment comes, and then the two heroes look at each other in a kind of awkward silence as they realize the narrative about their getting together gives way unto the life they have to live. In the High Fidelity movie, the estranged couple get back together and the fade out comes with a dance party, but in the book, there’s 100 more pages where they have to sort through the pain and grief and also the idea of whether they get back together.
And so a book like this, where the protagonist has her whole life to work through and finds that poetry gives her some language to better understand that might now have the ammo she needs to better confront and challenge her mother’s overbearing nature is only at the beginning of a lifelong battle for sovereignty that might still only end when one of them dies.
So I think this novel triumphs in a lot of ways and presents a view of the world that deserves a voice and doesn’t cheat the reader into believing it becomes easy from here on out. The audiobook is absolutely stellar and the author reads her work with a really passionate edge that brings that voice to life. It’s actually funny when the persona dips and narration happens away from her character’s voice. I have heard this voice many times before as a teacher.