Jill Mansell “Three Amazing Things About You” Review: Three Stars
OK, I’m struggling with how I feel about this book. I feel mixed. And let me tell you why.
At times, this was a really positive reading experience. I was so totally absorbed in this story that I read it in less than 24 hours.
Jill Mansell knows how to write light mystery and suspense in her story. Throughout the story there are a few main questions that drive the narrative, some of which impacted my rating and made me downgrade it from a potential 5-star to a 3-star. Here they are:
1. Who will be the one to donate the lungs to Hallie and under what circumstances? That’s not a spoiler–it’s stated on the first page. As the narrative goes on, it’s clear that the donator will be one of the characters in the three main storylines. In other words, you want to know: Who dies? And maybe even–how soon? To me, those last two are pretty uncomfortable and morbid questions to drive a story just to get a happy ending.
2. How are all these people related? It’s clear that they’ll come together in some way–it’s a Jill Mansell novel, so you should expect that.
3. Will Hallie get together with Luke? And when?
All three of those main questions drove the story in a way that made it addictive. I couldn’t wait to see what happened and what the answers were to all of those questions.
But as the story went on, I thought, look…maybe I’m a grinch, but what is this novel doing to me? I already supported organ donation, so it didn’t really change my mind about that. But I can see how it would make a big impact on other’s opinions. I am very drawn to stories that look at how small the world is and how we are just one step away from meeting people who change our lives. And I think this was a good way to show that because those stories exist.
However, however…I kept wondering if some of the characters were stretched a bit thin. Nearly every scene was designed to forward the plot, yet I didn’t know who these characters I was rooting for were. Hallie was great, and I felt she was definitely three dimensional…but the central question I had about her love life was, why Luke? I mean, he seemed like a nice fellow, but there wasn’t much to him. I get why he was attracted to her–she’s got a wonderful spirit, but is he really the best she can do? What does he like to do besides practice medicine? His taste in women is questionable–Christina? Hallie deserves a happy ending with someone. I’m just not sure it’s him. And, to go on, Lena felt like a caricature (daft, jealous, immature sister), as did Joe (the charismatic BFF, bromance, etc) and Carmel (the sassy BFF).
But perhaps the biggest thing is the morbid questions that drove the narrative. Sure, it was expertly done and moved the plot along, but why did I feel like–“Oh, so-and-so will croak and save Hallie’s life? THAT would be ironic considering they just talked about being healthy and living life to the fullest!” And, at a certain point, “Oh, it’s not so-and-so…I wonder who it will be!?” Looking back on it now, I’m not happy with what this story did to me, and how it made me think.
Look, I love Jill Mansell. She’s terrific. I absolutely adored “Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” and she definitely opened my eye to a certain kind of British chick lit. I had this specially imported and pre-ordered from the Book Depository. I do not regret that. I do not regret that I read this. I just regret the person it turned me into when I read it.