Sometimes there are books that I don’t even want to attempt to write reviews of because there’s no way I’d be able to capture their magic. Napolitano’s writing is like that – it touches me in a way that isn’t easy to articulate. It’s just downright beautiful.
I’m usually a fan of Oprah’s Book Club picks anyway, and this one was no exception. I was already eager to read this book after finishing Napolitano’s last book, “Dear Edward” not too long ago too. But as excited as I was to read this, I could not have predicted how much I fell in love with this book.
I’ve seen this novel described as a take on the classic “Little Women” tale, but I think this does a bit of a disservice to “Hello Beautiful.” This book deserves to stand on its own, and I felt a bit distracted at times trying to see the similarities or connections between the two.
The book switches perspectives between William, a depressed young man who has felt unloved since birth, and the sisters he becomes enmeshed with. The Padavano family, consisting of four sisters (Julia, Sylvie, Emeline, and Cecelia) and their parents, Rose and Charlie, are an intensely tight unit who function chaotically but with the utmost love for one another. The book spans several decades as events create fractures in their bonds.
Because Napolitano follows these characters for many years, it does feel like a sweeping epic in some ways. The characters are so endearing that I absolutely loved the chance to follow them along on their journeys. But that’s the thing with her writing – it didn’t feel like I was just reading about fictional characters – it felt like I was right along for the ride, listening to each person’s innermost thoughts and emotions. I didn’t want the book to end because I was so sad to say goodbye to these people.
Be forewarned: this book is definitely a tearjerker. But that’s simply because it’s so easy to feel like you’re a part of their lives – both their triumphs and their tragedies. I won’t soon forget the Padavano family and the lessons they were able to impart to me.
*Free ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review*