Date Finished: 9th February
Rating: 4.5 Stars
What if a father left his daughter a keepsake that would inspire and comfort her throughout her teenage and early adult years?
This is just one of the many questions Lola Jaye explores in ‘By the time you read this’, a dazzling novel about the life, loves, ups and downs of Lois Bates and her journey with The Manual.
I didn’t like her writing to begin with, it felt stilted and the sentences didn’t read well, but after the first few pages I found rhythm and only had to stop a few times to re-read sentences. While it seems a bad thing, it wasn’t because the remainder of the novel was highly addictive reading and I fell in love with Lola’s style.
I loved the story’s progression, each new stage of Lois’s life raised new challenges and situations that didn’t feel two dimensional, but realistic and relatable.
Lois’s dad played a huge role on the novel, and he was my favourite character. His own story, both saddened me and provoked me into considering writing my own manual for any future children I might have. I believe memories and keepsakes are valuable and Lois was blessed to still have a part of her father living between the pages of the Manual. Not a lot of people who lose their parents have a lot to remember them by and I thought the manual was a brilliant way to explore death, loss and the lives lived after a loved one passes.
I liked that while the novel is written in the first person perspective of Lois [the main character] the story scopes many characters’ lives depending on her age and situation. From her first kiss, to serious relationships, family, friends and even enemies. Some were major characters who popped up throughout the story while others were minor, but they all added depth into the character development of Lois and near the ending I was not only thinking of Lois, but every character and how they progressed through the novel to where they are at the end.
If I could use one word to describe this novel it would be original. But there at many more words I’d love to use. I urge you to track it down and read it. It was a refreshing step outside popular fiction traveling around the book blogosphere at the present time and It’s a journey I delighted in taking.