Between Before & After

Between Before & After

Book - 2019
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Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is the poster child of repressed emotions. Molly spends her California summer alternately watching out for her little brother Angus and tip-toeing around her mother’s raw feelings. Molly needs her mother more than ever, but Elaine shuts herself off from real human connections and buries herself in the lives and deaths of the strangers she writes about. When Uncle Stephen is pressed into the limelight because of his miracle cure of a young man, Elaine can no longer hide behind other people’s stories. And as Molly digs into her mother’s past, she finds a secret hidden in her mother’s dresser that may be the key to unlocking a family mystery dating to 1918 New York—a secret that could destroy or save their future.
Publisher: Grand Rapids, Michigan : Blink, [2019]
Characteristics: 297 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN: 9780310767381 (hardback)
0310767385 (hardback)
Alternative Title: Between before and after


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Jan 16, 2019

A story told from the perspective of a mother and daughter in narratives that are 35 years apart. Molly is fifteen in 1955. Her mother, Elaine, is that same age in 1920. There are fascinating historical touchstones in this book including the Spanish flu, the first McDonalds and the 1955 World Series. I usually really like dual timelines, but found it difficult to separate the two voices. Many times I found myself leaving the narrative and having to remind myself which story I was in before continuing. I also found the story arc of the miracle fell flat for me.


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