Words and their meanings – Kate Bassett
I posted a Top 5 post about my favourite books featuring writers not that long ago, so I was really excited to start reading this and find that it’s lead character, Anna, is in fact a writer. Well, she’s a writer that doesn’t write so much any more, not since the death of her uncle. God, this was a bit emotional.
Anna O’Mally doesn’t believe in the five stages of grief. Her way of dealing with death equates to daily bouts of coffin yoga and fake-tattooing Patti Smith quotes onto her arms. Once a talented writer, Anna no longer believes words matter, until shocking discoveries– in the form of origami cranes– force her to redefine family and love.
As Anna goes in search of the truth, she discovers that while every story, every human being, has a last line, it might still be possible to find the words for a new beginning.
Words and Their Meanings is not the sort of book you should take on holiday with you if you’re looking for a nice, easy beach read. This book packs a hell of an emotional punch and it doesn’t ease you in either, dear God, this grabs an emotion and just wacks you over the head with it. But that isn’t necessarily a good thing. I’m not adverse to a heavy hitting novel about loss and grief, especially if it’s written well… This was difficult to read, not just because it is a story about a girl who is drowning in emotion, but because the narration didn’t flow, it was stunted. Though we all know that Anna is suffering, I just found it hard to care. One of my main issues with the book is the fact that Anna is a writer, she is creative, she seeks solace in Patti Smith (who is freaking kick ass by the way) and as such, this book should have read like a Fitzgerald novel or something, it should have had beautiful, poetic feel to it and it just didn’t…
What started as something that I was really excited about reading, a story about a girl who loves words no longer finding comfort in them, turned into something that became a chore to finish. I felt the romance element of the story ruined it a bit, the mystery of Joe’s death and how Anna was coping was so much more interesting than what was going on with Matteo and I felt like adding this in distracted from what was going on and probably contributed to how I felt about the narration. Also, I felt the mystery took too long to get solved, the Nat thing was obvious from the beginning and it didn’t need dragging out that long. I maybe would have taken to Anna a little more if the book could have been split into the mystery of Joe and then Anna moving on with Matteo. The oragami birds and their hidden messages were a nice touch and I liked that the truth was hidden in something so personal to her, but I kind of wish that Anna had more of an artistic way with words, even if she wasn’t writing so much any more. I wish that the romance with Matteo had been given more attention, which really could have only happened if it had happened after the mystery was solved.
This isn’t a bad book, not by any means, but it isn’t a great book either. Like I said, this isn’t the sort of thing you’re going to want to take on holiday with you, like a dementor, it will suck the joy out of you. However, it is an interesting story and it is definitely worth a read, if you’re interested in reading a mystery story with a romance, maybe you should check out Far From You.