We’re All in This Together by Amy Jones
Amy Jones takes family drama to a whole new level with We’re All in This Together. The synopsis is short and sweet, but oh so intriguing: A woman goes over a waterfall; a video goes viral; a family goes into meltdown; welcome to the Parker family.
First of all, We’re All in This Together is told using ten different perspectives; most of them are family members, while a few stragglers only have 1 or 2 chapters. Each character has their own caution sign that starts the chapter and I absolutely loved that. The caution signs either showcase the character’s personality, or explains in a small picture, what that character’s life revolves around. It’s a perfect way to provide a little more dimension to an already well-rounded set of characters.
That being said, this type of format has to be done carefully. Create a character that readers don’t like and the novel has a portion that they will not want to read. With ten characters, the likelihood of that happening increases. Despite this likelihood, Jones has created a set of characters that don’t discourage the reader from their chapters. Yes, there are characters that quickly become favourites over others, but none leave a bad taste when coming to or finishing their chapter. None of the characters are truly loveable, and each have their negative characteristics, but with this story line, they truly fit and can be considered essential. Each character slowly builds the story and provides different aspects or explanations that other characters cannot provide to the reader. For instance, the family is struggling to understand why their matriarch, Kate, suddenly decided to go over the Kakabeka Falls in a wine barrel. It leaves the family reeling and trying to deal with the media as Kate lies in a coma. The readers are left wondering as well, until we finally begin to get chapters from Kate’s perspective, and while the information comes in random bits and pieces, it begins to shed a broader light on the family’s deeper issues.
Family chronicles are never my go-to reads. I use reading to escape, so I tend to lean towards crazy. As you can probably tell from the synopsis, this has just the right amount of crazy in it to keep me engaged and let me escape from the real world. Yes, the novel is heartfelt and deals with some very serious real-world issues, but it’s written in such a way to be enjoyable and not overly depressing.
The writing was simple but quite beautiful, and Jones really grabs the idea of the novel (in my opinion) with one line: this novel was ‘beautiful crazy chaos.’ It was at points, funny, heartbreaking and angering. It was family. In all it’s bat shit crazy glory.
I’m ending this review with the cover. A strange move on my part, I know, but I also feel like it is the most perfect cover for a novel. It just fits. Read the novel, and you’ll understand.