Very boring read was hard to get trough The idea was nice but not very well worked out It took me a while to get into this novel of family dynamics and family dysfunction, but I found it exerted and of a grip on me as the narrative progressed and by the end I was fully invested in the characters and felt great empathy for them As the title suggests, the story is in three parts, the first being set in Mona s childhood, the second when she is in her twenties and the third in her thirties It was the first part I had the most trouble with as everything is seen through the child s perception and I simply didn t find the voice convincing However, once the novel got into its stride with Mona as an adult, then her point of view became compelling and often very moving The book opens with the death of her mother in a car crash, and although the mother was a troubled soul, naturally the loss of her parent affects Mona deeply, a situation not helped by the arrival of a stepmother who brings to the situation her own difficult and demanding character Thereafter Mona has to work hard to develop any self esteem and self knowledge, and this struggle is brought vividly and empathetically to life The novel is well paced, with excellent characterisation and believable relationships, and narrated with great intelligence and insight. In This International Bestseller, A Woman Comes Of Age In A Poignant Novel About Forgiveness, Pain, And Self Discovery Mona S Demanding Mother Ruled Their Home Until A Car Crash Took Her Life And Changed Their Family Forever Left To Tend To A Distant Father And A Needy Younger Brother, Mona Finds Her New Role Almost Too Much To Bear And When A New Stepmother, Troubled And Depressed, Adds Yet Another Crack To The Family Portrait, Mona S Forced To Shoulder An Even Greater Share Of The Emotional BurdenSomewhere Between Her Responsibility To Her Family And To Her Own Life, Mona Finds A Route Of Escape In A Theater Career She Craves But For Every Challenge Ahead Romantic, Professional, Sexual, And Familial Mona Wonders How Much Of Her Future Has Already Been Defined By The Challenges Of Her PastAn Emotional, Funny, And Universal Novel About The People, Experiences, And Choices That Make Us Who We Are, Mona In Three Acts Is A Revelatory Journey Of A Woman S Self Discovery, Forgiveness, And Courage To Finally Speak Her Truth Family life it s complicated, part 2Last week I read Celeste NG s Everything I Never Told You, a very successful evocation of a family that is shattered by the death of one of the children Ng portrayed very nicely how not talking about tricky issues in her case gender and race related , and constantly adapting to avoid discussions, can lead to a dramatic result see my review This novel by the Flemish author Greet Op de Beeck ties in perfectly with that For her too, it is all about a family where people don t say what they have in mind, and stay silent to spare each other, until the storm bursts.Op de Beeck has opted for a less kaleidoscopic approach than Ng, because she follows only one point of view that of the young female Mona, albeit in three different time periods at 9 11 years, 24 and 35 years Mona is a chameleon who constantly adapts, tries to avoid conflicts, and is content with whatever good thing that comes her way in other words she s someone with a very low self esteem In the first part, related by the 9 11 year old Mona, the author sketches well where that comes from, although I think that this part was be a bit long.Stylistically this novel not always is perfect, with sometimes strange twists in the phrasing, with the language of the 9 year old Mona that is far from realistic, and especially with the constant switching of personal pronouns Also in the composition there is something to criticize the choice for 3 time periods is successful, with a fairly homogeneously developing Mona, but the other figures make very strange twists during those different periods especially the father figure is almost unrecognizable in the last part There is also regular hinting towards situations of abuse, but that theme is not really worked out.But Op de Beeck also has her strengths she knows how to observe incredibly sharply and to zoom in on people s feelings, on the regularly misfit in communication between family members or the lack thereof Especially the scene at the father s deathbed to me was utterly shocking and gripping hitting very close to home The author was once a theatre dramaturge herself and that shows But there is also a downside to this the magnification that does work on a stage does much less so in a novel for example, the figure of stepmother Marie in the last part is very caricatural and bitchy Remarkably almost all characters actually are pathetic, tragic people, who almost constantly complain about their own fate the novel even suffers from a competition in pitifulness, becoming yet another variation on Tolstoy s famous opening sentence all happy marriages .A not unimportant side aspect of this novel is also the view into the special world of theater companies and writers Op de Beeck undoubtedly draws on her own experiences here, and the picture she paints is rather abhorring Especially the self centeredness of the eccentric director Marcus and of her boyfriend, the writer Louis, are extensively emphasized, again on the edge of the caricatural.I personally think this is a successful novel than her debut Vele hemels boven de zevende, but for the time being she s no competition for Celeste Ng Nevertheless I have to add something to this remark In my own Dutch language region from the beginning Op de Beeck has been attacked as a rather superficial or too emotional writer, ranging her within Young Adult or Chicklit The attacks sometimes were personal and denigrating, and often by male reviewers, which give them a rather sexist flavour Now, tastes can differ, and everyone is entitled to his her own opinion, but in my view Op de Beeck though she does not produce world literature and her style is not without flaw offers a very own captivating take on life and she ought to be respected for that That s why I give this novel a perhaps a bit too flattering 3 stars. Wow. Nope She didn t convince with this novel either For some reason, I find her characters hard to relate to Although I am not averse to novels relating the misery and hardship, the grief and sadness that some people are repeatedly confronted with in life, I got annoyed by the downcast atmosphere of the book Maybe I have seen too much already due to my profession, but at no point was I moved in any way.No, I find it very hard to understand all the praise this book has been given so far. LEES DIT Mona in Three Acts follows our title character Mona through three different stages in her life She is a tragic figure and her hardships in life are shown throughout the novel The eldest of three children, Mona has trouble adapting after her mother s untimely death and we read about her family dysfunction which impacts her life, following how she adapts and copes with these circumstances This book was a bit of a struggle to get through I didn t feel much of a connection with any characters and the tone of the book brought me down It is just melancholy and depressing with an attempt at a positive and satisfying ending But for me I wasn t able to enjoy it as I had found myself getting and sad throughout the book I love when books make me feel all the feels, but this just did nothing to make me feel better and I really struggled.I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was excited to read this book I ve enjoy other books from the Netherlands Belgium is bordered by the Netherlands.So, as soon as I learned about this book Thank You, Jaideeher review and passion for this book is heartfelt and wonderful ,..I downloaded a copy myself Mona In Three Acts was surprisingly much longer than other novels I ve read from this region of the world I felt it was too long The translation was finebut there were pages upon pages of very ordinary descriptions of daily life..so much so.that after awhile ordinary something I usually love, as ordinary is real was TOO ORDINARY.I appreciated Mona s Innocence vulnerability and her grief from having lost her biological mother as a young girl but I began to tire of Mona s child voice..and the dialogue I teetered back and forth between compassion for Mona and being bored myself I appreciated a lot about this story, how these characters felt how Mona handled abuse and neglect etc ,.but I also felt grumpy at times As a 67 year old reading this book I got itchy with pages of explanations of things I already knew I know what a cardiologist is I ve seen the movie The Sound of Music enough times that to read an entire chapter about the movie Mona explaining it to her six year old brotherjust felt annoying Then there were parts where I paused.feeling annoyed puzzled by the choice of visualsHere s an example I d like to share my food with the children in Africa, especially when it s Belgian endive, or when Marie has cooked pork chops that are so dry and chewy you could beat a small animal to death with them Beat a dead animal Why did Mona pick such a phrase I ll tell you whyOur little 9 year old protagonist Mona over heard her daddy say it when Marie stepmother , wasn t around Mona thought it was secretly funny I didn t Following Mona s life from a child to an adult.400 plus pagesbecame too daunting for me My patients were being tested The author definitely can tap into our emotions but with the combination of the writing itself being simplistic a few emotional outbursts and the book s length I felt a lot was being asked from adult readers..If this book was 200 pages shorter.I may have enjoyed this I do applaud the author s insights into complex human relationships.exploring universal themes. Rating 3 5 starsARC provided by publisher Mona in Three Acts is the first novel by well known Flemish author Griet Op de Beeck to be translated into English, and the first one I read both in translation, as well as in its original Dutch Many thanks to the publisher Crossing for providing me with an early copy of the former As with most of Griet Op de Beecks books, Mona in Three Acts is a literary contemporary novel, that centres around coming of age in a slightly dysfunctional family unit As the title would imply, we follow Mona in a story that is split into 3 parts with a substantial time jump in between each of them In part 1, we get to know her as a 9 year old, shortly after the death of her mother, coping with the fact that her father is getting remarried We see her navigate her way around all these new emotions and see her relationship with her stepmother and stepsiblings play out In part 2, her story continues when Mona is around 25 when she moves in with her boyfriend and faces the first struggles in her starting career In part 3, Mona returns home to take care of her father on his sickbed and many puzzle pieces of the last years begin to fall into place I have to commend the novel for its consistency and build up of characters We see how the way that Mona was brought up influences the way she forms relationships later in life, which makes up the central theme of the novel Not just Mona, but the other reappearing characters follow this line All of them have distinct personalities and all of them are just the right amount of flawed to be realistic, but not too unlikable That being said, the nature of this novels theme almost directly prevents character growth in the main character Op de Beec does an exceptional job at writing from a childs perspective, which is why I probably enjoyed part 1 the most Unfortunately, Mona retains that na ve childish outlook throughout the rest of the novel, which got on my nerves quite fast My second problem, which is also inherently linked to the theme this novel goes for, is that everything is so oversimplified Yes, people are creatures of habit, that have a tendency to stick to the same patterns Yet the way the author psychoanalyses her character down to a single thing in her past just rubs me the wrong way As a literary device, it treads the thin line between character background and psychology for dummies As an outlook on life, it completely removes all agency from the person and labels them as a victim of their past, rather than an individual capable of taking responsibility for their own life As a final note I d like to say that I actually enjoyed the English translation than I did the original Op de Beeck has a tendency to try a little too hard when writing dialogue, which results in overly directed, too profound sentences that feel out of place in the mouths of the characters that deliver them I think the translator did an excellent job of bending them into a moderate form, without losing the core of the message This novel is out in Dutch under the original titleKom hier dat ik u kus by Prometheus, and will be released in November 2019 via Crossing in its English translation.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the
- Kindle Edition
- 402 pages
- Kom hier dat ik u kus
- Griet Op de Beeck
- 15 November 2018 Griet Op de Beeck