Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: Bitter Like Orange Peel by Jessica Bell

Bitter Like Orange Peel the debut novel by Jessica Bell, is the story of six women who's lives have all been changed because of one man. The novel begins with Kit looking at a defaced photograph of her father and decides to call her half sister Ivy. She tells Ivy that she is interested in finding their father. Wanting to find that missing piece is how we begin to see secrets revealed and revelations brought to light.

Bitter Like Orange Peel essentially is a well-written story about female adults dealing with the challenges of their lives that may, or may not, have anything to do with the abandonment of this guy, Roger. Kit is in her mid-twenties and is still unsure of what to do with her life. She's encouraged by her mother Ailish to do something purposeful with her field of study in archaeology. Ironically, the same profession as her older sister Ivy, and their father. Kit may in fact be the most relatable and well developed character of this novel. The idea that finding our lineage and answers to burning questions is coherant, if not obvious for a plot.

Ivy represents the woman who seemingly has her life together. She's taking a break from getting her PHD after divorcing her husband Amir. Ivy runs off to Seattle in search of a new life and figure the one out that she has. While waitressing she meets Brian. Eventually, Ivy doesn't seem so put together at all.

Bitter Like Orange Peel would have been a 3-star review for me if it had a little more focus, especially the end. The different view points broke up the flow of the novel and left me wondering at times was that person's insight even necessary.

I commend Jessica Bell for bringing to life in Bitter Like Orange Peel the importance of family and just being there. We don't always see the affects the relationships we have, or don't have, with the people we have no choice in being related to. Bitter Like Orange Peel does not deter me from reading Jessica Bell's other works. Bell's definitely a unique voice in the literary world that I would love to explore further.  **

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