Thursday, May 11, 2023

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

Rating: 5 of 5 stars 
Pages: 400 pages
Published: March 2023

I would not be surprised if Hello Beautiful by Napolitano was selected as a finalist for Book of the Month's Book of the Year recognition. My very first order with Book of the Month was Napolitano's Dear Edward, and while Hello Beautiful was different, it was just as beautifully written. This coming of age novel reminiscent of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women follows a decades-long story of the four unique and endearing Padavanos sisters and their relationship with another primary character, William Waters. 

William spends his formative years in a loveless, wordless home with parents who simply could not cope (nor parent, for that matter) after a horrible tragedy caused by no one. Upon graduation from high school, they send him packing and he goes to college in the Chicago area where he meets his future wife Julia and her enigmatic, albeit dysfunctional in some respects, family who are overall way more kind and loving to William than his own. Grasping on to those emotions that he's never experienced before, he marries Julia (and her family also) without truly thinking things through or even having to capability to know what he needs to be happy. Headstrong Julia is set on living her life one way - hers. As a result, William experiences a breakdown, and the marriage ends. But that's only the beginning of this family saga between the Padavanos and William. 

The remainder of the story is simply a beautiful tale of a family experiencing life together. While there is certainly a driving conflict that propels the story forward, I think the book is more about character development, beautifully constructed sentences, and what it means to truly understand one's self. I really enjoyed this saga, and I would read it again and again if there weren't so many other books on my list. 

Recommendation: Napolitano has gotten literary fiction down to an art, and to step into her world is pleasure. I can't wait to read what she writes next! 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.


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