Jack and Meredith are non-identical twins; the only similarity between them is their lives rapidly falling apart. Jack’s high-flying career in advertising has crashed and burned. Meredith’s world is also crumbling – a decomposing yogurt in her fridge now a symbol of her failed marriage. Her children, Jemima and Luke, offer little support, too consumed with the worlds of online dating and amateur taxidermy.
All their lives, Jack and Meredith believed their father to be dead. One day, a throwaway comment leads Jack to question this, but with their mother fading ever-deeper into the grip of dementia, answers are hard to come by. As revelations start to untangle, the twins soon learn that what you seek is not always what you find…
What I Thought:
Arms Wide Open is definitely a book that highlights how much dysfunction can be going on right before our eyes! Jack, a seemingly successful man, with all the trappings a successful life and career can bring, is neither as happy or successful as he seems, while his twin, Meredith’s family seems to be coping well with the break up of her marriage, and yet beneath the surface, things are afoot.
I had read an enjoyed Tom Winter’s first book, Lost and Found, so was excited to read this second book, and I wasn’t disappointed.
It is a very character-driven book, so it was sad that at first Meredith’s daughter Jemima was all that is bad about teenagers (supposedly), but as the book went on, she shed some of her impatience and you realise that for all her bravado, she is still naive and sensitive in some respects.
I thought the story telling was done well, using flashback scenes to slowly unveil the truth behind the twins’ story and why Jack and Meredith’s mother seemed so supportive of Jack, and dismissive of Meredith. I was reminded of a piece I read just recently about the expectation of daughters to provide care for their elderly parents, while sons are more the golden children who are applauded for putting in minimal effort – for an illustration of this, this book is perfect!
Note: I was sent a copy of this title for review purposes, all opinions are, as ever, my own.