My Rating: ★★★★
Genre(s): Contemporary, Canadian Literature
Reading Challenge: 24 out of 35
A Canadian book, yay! Finally! Canadian books don’t often fall into my hands but when they do, I’m overwhelmed with pride and joy. Supporting authors from my country is so important to me, especially as Canadian books don’t often get the attention and credit that they deserve, simply because they aren’t as widely accessible as American books. So if I get to write a review that’s going to bring the attention of book bloggers or readers to a Canadian author, then it’s a very good day!
So, Every Little Piece of Me. Let’s try to break this one down because it is a doozy. First off, this book has a dual narrative, which y’all might remember I love, and starts in the present then goes back in time to slowly bring us back to the beginning and onward. Our lovely leading ladies are Mags and Ava. Mags is the lead singer of the popular Canadian alternative band, Align Above. Ava is the daughter of two men who have fallen out of favour in the celebrity sphere and decide to reclaim their fame by making their family the subjects of a reality TV show. Both women have tumultuous upbringings, and are more alike than readers may initially believe…
The passage of time in this novel really reminded me of The Royal We, except for that there were two stories to follow as the years went by. At first, I found it a bit jarring, to be honest. It was a little difficult to distinguish who was who, what was going on, and how it related to the last chapter for that particular character. However, after a few chapters, it was a lot easier to follow along.
Of the two characters, I definitely felt more attached to Mags and her story.
Granted, both ladies were well-developed, complex characters (Yay, complex female characters!!). But there was just something about Mags, in both her personality and her storyline, that I felt Ava was lacking. I think it might have been that from the start, Mags had a troubled past, she had endured so much but was still trying to stay level-headed, whereas Ava was angsty and resentful right off the bat. As the story progressed, Ava definitely had reason to behave like that. I just felt that the two characters didn’t come from the same place emotionally or physically, and Mags was more interesting on first impression. Her background story was so heartbreaking and throughout the novel, while there were definite positive moments in her life, she suffered a great deal and you could see how she deteriorated with every hit. I felt for her immensely as the story progressed.
Interestingly, I could not relate this novel to any other.
Typically, when I read one novel, I can immediately think of another that it reminds me of so I can recommend it to others in a “if you liked this book, you’ll like this book” sort of way. But Every Little Piece of Me was incredibly unique, both in setting and in plot. This story focuses on two girls from two very different mediums of entertainment - reality t.v. and music - but behind both of these mediums, the author reveals the sad reality of loneliness and despair, as well as the sexism that the girls face. It’s so unusual to combine these stories and to connect them, but I think it was really effectual. The only book that I could come close to comparing this to would be Boring Girls by Sara Taylor, another Canadian novel but a much more graphic, intense novel. If you thought Every Little Piece of Me got dark, you would be shocked by Boring Girls.
All in all, I really enjoyed this novel and I was so happy to read a great book by a Canadian author! I hope to be able to read more of Amy Jones’ work in the future.
Let’s chat! Do you love or hate reality TV? Why?
Thank you so much to Penguin Random House Canada for gifting me this book! All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Ava Hart is the most reluctant cast member of a reality TV show based on her big city family's (mostly staged) efforts to run a B&B in small-town Nova Scotia. Every family has its problems, but Ava has grown up seeing her family's every up and down broadcast on national television, after the show becomes an unexpected success for reasons that will take a heavy toll on the Harts.
Mags Kovach is the charismatic lead singer of a struggling Halifax rock band hoping to be the Next Big Thing. For years she's managed to contain her demons and navigate the uglier aspects of being a woman in the music world, but after a devastating loss, she turns her anger on the only person she can: herself.
As their private tragedies continue to set social media and tabloid headlines on fire, their every move subjected to an endless stream of public commentary, it will be their unexpected friendship that will save them. They will push back against the roles they've been forced to play, and take back control of something they thought they'd lost forever -- the right to their own stories.