The Museum of You – Carys Bray
When I saw this on NetGalley, I had a feeling this would be the sort of thing I’d enjoy, a slow burning family drama, a dad/daughter relationship and a cute cover, what’s not to love?
Clover Quinn was a surprise. She used to imagine she was the good kind, now she’s not sure. She’d like to ask Dad about it, but growing up in the saddest chapter of someone else’s story is difficult. She tries not to skate on the thin ice of his memories.
Darren has done his best. He’s studied his daughter like a seismologist on the lookout for waves and surrounded her with everything she might want – everything he can think of, at least – to be happy.
What Clover wants is answers. This summer, she thinks she can find them in the second bedroom, which is full of her mother’s belongings. Volume isn’t important, what she is looking for is essence; the undiluted bits: a collection of things that will tell the full story of her mother, her father and who she is going to be.
But what you find depends on what you’re searching for.
You might have noticed if you’ve been hanging out on this corner of the internet for a while that I love books about broken families swimming against the tide to keep themselves together. This was a family broken by something catastrophic, the death of a beloved wife and the surprise birth of a daughter, plus the other complicated musings of family life. Clover is a girl growing up knowing she’s loved but wanting to know more about where she came from and the mother she never got a chance to know without having to trigger her dad too much, hence the museum, she wants to learn from the items left over from her mother the same way she learns about the history of ships or the country as she would at any other museum. This is a slow burning, bitter sweet quest for a girl to discover who she is interwoven with the narration of her dad who is still grieving, not just for his wife, but for the childhood of his daughter.
Sounds great so far, right?
And it is great, this is a very well written story which is hopeful and sad in equal measure and has such a wonderful father/daughter relationship which I’ve not really come across before (if you have ideas of books which feature a positive father/daughter relationship, send them my way.) the problem was this was a little too heavy on the description at times. This isn’t the sort of book you can just pick up, it was a little bit of a chore wading through all the words to get to the heart of the story, in fact, the best way I can describe this – you know when you go out for dinner and you’re served this deliciously rich meal and you love it, it has so many different taste sensations but its also a little heavy and you need to take breaks between each mouthful cos it sort of tires you out? That is exactly how this book was to me.
Basically, it is a sweet, sad story, with some nicely fleshed out characters that is a little style over substance, but enjoyable nonetheless, especially if you have the time to keep dipping in and out of it.