Monday, August 31, 2015

TLC BLOG TOUR: Montpelier Tomorrow by Marylee MacDonald

Title: Montpelier Tomorrow
Author: Marylee MacDonald
Genre: Adult Fiction Contemporary
Publisher: All Things That Matter Press
Release Date: August 21/2014
Acquired: E-copy provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD
Purchase: Amazon

Mid-life mom, Colleen Gallagher would do anything to protect her children from harm. When her daughter's husband falls ill with ALS, Colleen rolls up her sleeves and moves in, juggling the multiple roles of grandma, cook, and caregiver, only to discover that even her superhuman efforts can't fix what's wrong.

"An affecting, deeply honest novel; at the same time, a lacerating indictment of our modern health care system."--Kirkus Reviews

"A heartrending story of love, loss and the endurance of the human spirit."--Literary Fiction Book Review

"Characters are vivid, relatable, and all too imperfectly human." --Jewell Parker Rhodes

"Each time I have reread this novel, I have felt rewarded by the connection it offers to the central character, Colleen. I can think of no single page in which her voice is not an irreplaceable gift to the reader." --Kevin McIlvoy

"An engrossing account of the impossible choices faced by caregivers..." --Kathryn Shonk


I seem to have hit a trend with my reading as of late-does 2 count as a trend? A trend that has found me reading important books, with less than stellar narratives.
Montpelier Tomorrow is an important book, in regards to the light it sheds on a disease that is all too rapidly claiming lives. Montpelier Tomorrow was informative in it's explanation of the disease, and of the stresses placed not only on the affected, but on the loved ones surrounding them. But the fat, muscle, and skin intertwined with the very important core of this novel was a storyline that was choppy, stilted, and indescribably frustrating to read.

Marylee MacDonald went for that gut punch, for that seriously hard-to-ignore cast of characters that (almost) makes you feel lucky that the horrible aunt that comments on your slight weight gain every Christmas is all you have to deal with. The people existing in this novel were horrendous. They were rude, and selfish, and heartless, and overall lacked basic human courtesy. Colleen Gallagher's daughter Sandy has arrived home, her daughter's husband, Tony, literally falls out of the passenger side and curls up in a ball. Colleen tries rushing to his aid, while exclaiming, quite calmly, "Tony, are you all right?".... 

That's it!? Were we to assume that Colleen was already aware of Tony's tragic news? I was so confused. 

We soon find out that Tony has been diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), and is about to become even more insufferable than he already is. And Colleen, to become pushover of the century.

That was the tone of this entire novel, it was one non-reaction after another. It was insult, after dropped topic, after assumption, after another. I felt like I was reading this book while submerged underwater, it made my head SO foggy. I'll be the first to admit that the subject matter of this novel was enough to propel it onto the "books you should be aware of" list, but the writing style made me cringe-nails on chalkboard kind of cringe. Granted, readers eventually become privy to the reason why (a couple) of the characters are so hostile, but it wasn't enough for me by then. The entire 3/4 of the book set me up for exhaustion, so that I just wasn't having it by the end. I felt very little other than anger towards every single voice in Montpelier Tomorrow, even little Josh. Yes, MacDonald wrote a book that everyone should pick up, but I can't guarantee that you'll love it for it's literary finesse.

Recommended for Fans of: The movie: The Theory of Everything, Contemporary, fiction with characters that have a physical disability.


A former carpenter and mother of five, Marylee MacDonald began writing when her last child left for college. Her fiction has won the Jeanne Leiby Chapbook Award, the Barry Hannah Prize, the Ron Rash Award, the Matt Clark Prize, and the ALR Fiction Award.

Her novel, Montpelier Tomorrow, was a Finalist in the 2014 IPPY Awards and the Faulkner-Wisdom Prize. She is widely published in literary magazines such as
American Literary Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Folio, Blue Moon Literary & Art Review, Broad River Review, Four Quarters, New Delta Review, North Atlantic Review, Raven Chronicles, Reunion: The Dallas Review, River Oak Review, Ruminate, StoryQuarterly, The Briar Cliff Review, and Yalobusha Review.

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Thank-you to Trish from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to All Things That Matter Press for sending me an ebook copy to review! CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour

1 comment:

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