BOOK REVIEW: Love Anthony, by Lisa Genova

Date(s) read: November 20 – 21, 2012
Genre: Contemporary

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SYNOPSIS
From the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Still Aliceand Left Neglected, comes a heartfelt novel about an accidental friendship that gives a grieving mother a priceless gift: the ability to understand the thoughts of her eight-year-old autistic son and make sense of his brief life.

Two women, each cast adrift by unforeseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.

Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony’s short life.

Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression—a voice she can share with Olivia—(is it Anthony?)—that brings comfort and meaning to them both.

My Thoughts
And confession time – I love Lisa Genova. When I first read her book, Left Neglected, I knew I had to read everything she ever released. So I read Still Alice and loved her even more. When I heard she was writing a new book, Love Anthony, I was so excited. I even went to the store and bought the new book the day after it was released!

While this was a really touching story, I have to admit that it wasn’t my favourite by Lisa. What I loved about her previous novels was the fact that they were rooted so much in medical mystery. Love Anthony is about a medical mystery – autism – but it wasn’t written in the same way as her previous works. I can’t put my finger on what the difference was, but this one didn’t totally grab me from the first pages and I found myself not feeling too enthusiastic by the end.

I did really like the characters, Beth and Olivia, and enjoyed reading about their personal journeys. I felt like they should have met one another earlier in the book, though, because their storylines, while connected, still seemed so separate. And the ending (which I won’t give away) seemed a little too … pretty? I can’t explain it, but I just wasn’t satisfied.

Of course, this isn’t to say that the book is terrible, because it isn’t. It was beautifully written, but was just lacking in something. That being said, I will still read Lisa’s books in the future – she’s still an amazing writer and someone who really knows what she’s doing in her books. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Author Links
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11 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Love Anthony, by Lisa Genova

  1. Oh too bad this one didn’t live up to the others, but I am happy to see that you still really enjoyed it. I have been seeing Still Alice and Left Neglected at Costco everytime I go there and have wanted to pick it up, but haven’t! Maybe I will after your praise of them. I love a good medical mystery!

  2. I agree – this one was definitely different from her previous two books, but I still really loved it. I’ve put off writing my review of this one because I can’t really put into words, why I still really loved it… Part of it, I know, is because I love reading about autism. But I do think people picking up this book expecting Lisa’s unputdownable medical mystery-type story will be disappointed. .

  3. I’ve never read a LIsa Genova book. While this one does sound fascinating, you said it’s not one of your favorites from her? What would you recommend as a newbie to her books?

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  4. I fel the same as you. I think the medical novel style is very her and she should stick to it. If the name Anthony was different I would have loved it more.

    Like you Still Alice is my favourite, an ultimate favourite actually, then Left Neglected and this. Lisa G is an author I will read immediately.

    • I agree that she should stick to the medical mystery kind of books — Still Alice and Left Neglected were both page turners for me, but I wasn’t totally into this one. Still good, but not my favourite.

  5. Pingback: Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge (20) | Reading In Winter

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