Not quite everything I’d hoped. 3.5/5 stars.
The blurb: Clover Quinn was a surprise. She used to imagine she was the good kind, now she’s not sure. She’d like to ask Dad about it, but growing up in the saddest chapter of someone else’s story is difficult. She tries not to skate on the thin ice of his memories.
Darren has done his best. He’s studied his daughter like a seismologist on the lookout for waves and surrounded her with everything she might want – everything he can think of, at least – to be happy.
What Clover wants is answers. This summer, she thinks she can find them in the second bedroom, which is full of her mother’s belongings. Volume isn’t important, what she is looking for is essence; the undiluted bits: a collection of things that will tell the full story of her mother, her father and who she is going to be.
But what you find depends on what you’re searching for.
I’m saddened that I didn’t enjoy this book more. The writing is good: clear and evocative. The idea of the “museum of you” is great and had a lot of potential. I liked Clover – the 12-year old protagonist – very much. The story is told in alternating third-person point-of-view between Clover and her Dad, Ben, and I looked forward to every one of Clover’s sections.
However, I didn’t really connected with any of the characters other than Clover. Getting through the sections told from her father’s viewpoint felt like a chore. I started to skim through his sections to get to The End faster.
The neighbour’s SHOUTING (yes, in ALL CAPS) and continued malapropisms were quite funny at first. Unfortunately, they quickly became irritating. I understand this sort of comic relief is a good idea when the backstory which is slowly being revealed is very sad, but less would have been more in this specific case.
As I say, I’m quite sad about not having liked The Museum of You more. The story is touching, the characters are all drawn as decent (if damaged) people, and I can see why so many people have loved this book and been deeply moved by it. Perhaps if I read it at another time, I’d feel differently.
Overall: a moving story and the idea of the ‘museum of you’ is terrific. I just didn’t feel enough sympathy for any of the characters other than Clover for this story to truly “land” with me. Other opinions are available! 🙂