No Way To Say Goodbye by Anna McPartlin

No way to say goodbyeI chose No Way To Say Goodbye from the library because I had never read anything by Anna McPartlin before. I like to read new things and different authors from time to time. This book was originally titled Apart From The Crowd. The main characters are four friends Mary Mackey, Penny, Ivan and Adam. They all have different problems. For example, Mary Mackey has endured so much loss in her twenty-nine years that people call her ‘Mary of the Sorrows’. Mary has a humdrum existence, a a rather solitary life. That is the way she hopes to avoid further grief. Her three friends, Penny, Ivan and Adam initially seem more together but they are actually just as damaged. Penny is lonely: Ivan is a coward, and Adam is deceitful. These are all signs of lives going off the tracks.

Then a mysterious American moves in next door to Mary and her friends are intrigued but she tries to avoid him. It transpires that his wounds run just as deep as theirs. His arrival in town will challenge each of the four friends to face their demons. It will also force Mary to decide if she can take a chance on living again.

This was a book without a lot of action, but still the character interactions and the small changes in their ways of life did move the story along and the story dealt with some serious issues including alcoholism, heroin addiction and grief. However, No Way To Say Goodbye did not pass judgement.

However, I found much of the book dull and confusing. For example, when, early in the book Penny goes to Mary’s house. The narrative describes Penny arriving at the house, the door being answered and Penny going in. However, then in the very next section, Mary is asleep on the couch and does not hear Penny approach. Later in the book, a chapter starts with a description of a funeral, but nowhere in the story had anyone died. I had to go back a few of pages to make sure I had not missed anything. Also, some things about the character’s personalities seem to be thrown in at random points for the convenience of the story.

No Way To Say Goodbye is set in a small village in Ireland and the author, herself, is Irish. Anna McPartlin was bornanna McPartlin in Dublin in 1972.  She has survived trauma,loss and being faced with death. This has inspired Anna to write about the darker side of life but because she has been lucky enough to be surrounded by joyful people her work and life is brimming with hope and laughter. Anna’s husband Donal is a drummer who has worked with Jack Lukeman and Junkster. He is currently in an up and coming band called Torchlight. Anna’s been supporting and following her husband around the world for sixteen years and she plan to continue doing so.

I wanted to like this book because I think it did try to deal with important issues. Unfortunately, this book did not do it for me. I did not enjoy No Way To Say Goodbye. I thought the story was slow and terminably dull. I cannot recommend this book.

Valerie Penny

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