Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Hello Beautiful

The Padavano family lives in an old house in Pilsen, Chicago. The four beautiful daughters love each other deeply and are essential to one another’s happiness. Charlie, their meek father, recites poetry from a bar stool while their cold mother Rose rules the roost. We meet the girls in the 1980’s flashing back through memories of their childhood and experiences they’ve shared as sisters. Julia, the eldest is the rule follower and leader who makes her way to Northwestern University on scholarship determined to set the world on fire. Next in line is Sylvie who has worked at the library since she was 13 and lives inside the novels she adores. Cecelia displays her artistic talents at a young age while her twin Emeline is the nurturing caretaker of the group. In college Julia meets handsome William, an extremely tall, shy basketball player. She is instantly attracted to realize he is malleable to all of her wishes and plans, her dreams becoming his. They marry after graduation bringing William - who is essentially alone in the world - into their boisterous family. When severe depression overtakes William a short while later, the sisters tight knit world begins to unravel. As adults each Padavano woman searches for her rightful place in the world while everything familiar is painfully dismantling. I tried not to read too much about this uber hyped novel before I began. Overall the writing is as beautiful as  touted but this novel dragged on for much too long. The entire second half was repetitiveness that reflected back to the past unnecessarily. I was entranced by the love and chaos of these sisters but a reader should NEVER be wishing for a book to end - and I was. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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