The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender tells the life story of Ava Lavender, a girl, born in the twenties, who has wings. It follows not only her life, but those of her mother and grandmother, twisting them all together to create a sad, haunting tale of fate, and love, and loss, and hope.
The way it was approached was definitely really interesting. I liked the way that it told the stories of all three women, and whilst they were distinct from one another, they also intertwined immaculately. The writing was good – really lyrical and unique. I’m certainly glad I’ve read it as it makes you question a lot of your priorities and address what you really value in life. But at the same time, there was just something missing for me.
I never really got attached to the characters. It wasn’t that they weren’t well-written, or weren’t fully fleshed out, it was more that they just felt quite distant from me. It meant that by the time I got to the end, where the most dramatic event occurs, I just wasn’t that distressed. And believe me, I should have been. I was shocked true, but more in the way you’re shocked when you hear about something awful happening on the news, but you have no real personal involvement. It just didn’t affect me as much as I wished it had.
I don’t think it’s a bad book. Honestly. I think it is a melancholy book. You know those songs that you listen to just after a break up, or when something you were hoping for has gone horribly wrong, and they suddenly resonate with you about two hundred times more than they did when you were happy? Those songs that you listen to on repeat, because despite the fact that they express someone else’s woe, they somehow make you feel a whole lot better? I kinda feel that Ava Lavender is one of those songs. If you are sad, then it soothes wounds, and the beauty of the writing hugs your heart, and the difficulties of the characters leave you in floods of tears. But when you’re happy, it’s just not quite enough to leave you coming back for more.
I feel awful saying this, as the book is so well put together, but for me, it just wasn’t a winner. Sorry guys.
~ Becca x