Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Whiskey & Charlie - Annabel Smith

 Summary:  It is less than twenty-four hours since Charlie received the phone call from his mother and in those hours his only thought has been that Whisky must not die. He must not die because he, Charlie, needs more time. He and Whisky have not been friends, have not talked or laughed together for months, years. But he has never thought it will end like this. He has always thought there will be time. Whisky and Charlie are identical twins. But everything about them is poles apart. It's got so bad that Charlie can't even bear to talk to his brother anymore - until a freak accident steals Whisky from his family, and Charlie has to face the fact he may never speak to his brother again.

(Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review:  This book was hard to read. The writing was good, the story was good, the characters were realistic—some more likeable than others, just as in real life—it’s just that the story was heartbreaking. I mean, it’s not like you can’t see it coming as the book starts right off with the one of the twins in a coma from a car wreck, and it just all seems so real. I think that’s what made it hard. And good. I mean, any time you feel like you’re actually emotionally invested in a book because you care about the characters and what happens (even if you don’t like them), it’s the sign of a good book.

I think one of the things that surprised me about this book is how much I actually really didn’t like the main characters, especially Charlie, the brother who was not in a coma. He is, for all intents and purposes, a rude jerk who blames his brother for everything. And Whiskey, the other brother, is not innocent, either. I didn’t like him, either. It was hard to decide who to side with in this. They weren’t necessarily horrible people, just unlikeable in their behavior and actions and because of that it was hard to know what to think. I don’t think I actually really liked either of them very much at all, even by the end. I liked the people around them—the wives and significant others in particular were strong and very likeable. The strength of the book really was that these seemed like real people. They had real emotions and real flaws, but also real strengths. No one was above any of the normal human fallibility, but there were some that were stronger or more capable than others. In the end it really was a realistic family, and I cared about them as a whole.

I felt like the story was, like all good stories, a vehicle in which to have you challenge your own beliefs and feelings about what you would do in certain situations. It is easy to be an armchair quarterback, per se, when you hear of families dealing with really hard situations (and there are some really hard situations in this book) but it’s another when you are actually faced with that situation. People have different beliefs and different ideas, even within a family, and this can make it really hard to come to a consensus and overcome the hurt and drama that comes, simply, with a lifetime of living.

This is the kind of fiction book that isn’t large and sweeping and seriously epic at the end, and I wouldn’t necessarily take it as a fluffy beach/vacation read, but it is a good book about a microcosm of life—the complexities of relationships, family love, and the inevitable loss and tragedy that comes from just living in this world.

My Rating: 4 stars

For the sensitive reader: There is some language and sexual discussion, but I would not consider it offensive and is on par with others in the genre.                                  

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