I received a free copy of this book in exchange for agreeing to review it here on my blog.
Straight Up is a book about 2 women (cousins) dealing with the losses life has handled them in very different ways. Georgia is a musician, the daughter of a deceased jazz pianist; her cousin Fairly is an interior designer whose parents were killed in a car crash while she was in college. The book is told in first-person narrative throughout most of it, jumping back and forth between Fairly and Georgia, with occasional third-person prose about characters named Clarissa and Mary Margaret.
I had high hopes for this book. After all, one of the main characters was a musician, and I love music. It really wasn't one of those books that grabs a person right away. By the author's own admission she shies "away from the 'bang out of the starting gate' formula," feeling that it gives the reader a "chance to get to know the character a bit more." I'll have to admit that the first person narrative does enable a person to see the characters perhaps more deeply than in a book written in the omniscient third person. One of my favorite parts of the book was a very simple 2-line statement by one of the characters:
People see me as a birdbath.
I am a well.
I did have a hard time getting into the book, but by about 1/3 of the way through, I knew I had to finish it. However, this isn't a book with a neat and tidy ending, where all your questions get answered. I probably had as many questions after I finished as I had when I started. I can't say I hated the book, but it also didn't leave me wanting to tell all my friends to read it.
Apparently, I am in the minority. The bulk of the reviews I read at Amazon are full of accolades and high praise. This isn't one I'll be rereading, as I am often prone to doing with favorite reads.