I recently read Arms Wide Open by Tom Winter and oh, I am excited to review it...
Arms Wide Open is one of those books with a tone that is received as amusing to the reader, whilst the seriousness of each different storyline to each character is known and understood too. It's slightly sarcastic, maybe. Odd? Yes? Cleaver? Certainly. Whatever this humorous and yet honest tone is, it kept me easily engaged with Jack's, Meredith's, Jemima's and Luke's dilemmas and funny quirks.
While Jack and Meredith (twins) wonder whether the dad they thought was dead their whole lives really is, Jack begins to face his own problems, Meredith tries to find herself without her husband she still believes she needs and tries to look after her children and her brother. Meanwhile Jemima (Meredith's daughter) becomes involved in an online dating site and Luke (Meredith's son) faces bullying at school and the lack of acceptance of his sometimes strange but mostly endearing ways.
Arms Wide Open touches upon taboo subjects; it sometimes makes us really uncomfortable (Jemima trying to find acceptance with men more than double her age), it sometimes moves us (Meredith's and Jack's mother has early-onset dementia) and it sometimes makes us laugh. Ultimately it sings of togetherness and a few different opinions on a few different family situations.
When it comes to chapters, I have no preference to a certain-sized chapter, however I enjoyed the fact that most of the chapters in Arms Wide Open were quite short. As the book could be quite shocking at times and a little uncomfortable, the short chapters mean you don't have long to dwell on whatever bizarre twist the story took in the previous chapter, and it makes the book easy and exciting to read.
Arms Wide Open is a very truthful (an aspect I love to mention when a book is honest because it is such an awesome value) story. Very eye-opening. It is a very bitterly humorous novel that taught me more about living in the moment and the importance of the people who care for us.
Blue & Orange,
The Girl in the Moonlight.