The Way Things Should Be… a novel about sibling and parent relationships, growing up in regional Australia, and being a millennial.
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The Way Things Should Be Synopsis:
Claudia is getting married in a week. Well, she’s 85% sure she is getting married in a week. Maybe 75%… First, she must return home to spend the week with her siblings Zoe, Phinn and Poppy who, despite their best intentions, are quick to return to long-established battle lines.
The arrival of her best friend Nora, desperately trying to keep her own demons quiet, does nothing to soothe the possessive sisters. Meanwhile, their parents George and Rachel, long estranged from each other, are struggling with how different their children turned out to what they’d imagined. Taller, maybe?
The Way Things Should Be is a warm, funny and genuine novel about the conflicting joys and disappointments of millennials. It explores the complex relationships between parents and adult children, what we expect and what actually receive, and the complicated terrain that is the relationships with our siblings, best friends, and ourselves.
(Echo Publishing, 2018)
Straight up, I am a late Generation-Xer. Perhaps that’s why Bridie Jabour’s The Way Things Should Be and I didn’t always gel?
Don’t get me wrong, there is much to enjoy in this novel — eclectic characters, snappy and at times witty dialogue, and exploration of sticky real-world issues like the transforming relationships of siblings and parents into adulthood.
There is plenty to witness when you spend eighteen years living with the same people… If you are lucky, your siblings are the only people you ever really belt, that you fight with so ferociously there is hair and bits and skin scattered down hallways for months. Offspring watch their parents eternally commit the sin of being imperfect.
But between the covers of The Way Things Should Be there is also a lot of high emotional drama, lashing out, navel-gazing and self-absorption displayed by the female characters which, more often than not, the patient and endearing male characters bore the brunt of. In that context, my favourite character was the female siblings’ long-suffering, warm-hearted brother Phinn.
I think a good litmus test for whether this book is truly for you could be your gut reaction to the title: “The Way Things Should Be”. I had overlooked my instinctive response to say that kind of statement.
BOOK RATING: The Story 3 / 5 ; The Writing 3 / 5
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Genre: Drama, Romance, ChickLit
About the Author, Bridie Jabour
Bridie Jabour is a writer who has worked as a journalist for News Corp, Fairfax and Guardian Australia.
Bridie has written commentary on inequality, feminism and pop culture. She appears regularly on the ABC, Sky News, Triple J and ABC radio Sydney and is co-host of the podcast Behind the Lines.
Bridie is assistant news editor at Guardian Australia where she has reported on social affairs, politics and regional issues. She has worked in the Canberra press gallery and was a reporter for Brisbane Times after starting her career at the Gold Coast Bulletin in Queensland. She has been nominated for New South Wales and Queensland media awards for her coverage of the Lindt Cafe Siege and Queensland state politics.
She has hosted live shows for the Guardian and appeared on panels at various writers’ festivals as a moderator and contributor. She has 20,000 + fans on social media across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The Way Things Should Be is her first novel.
Other reviews of The Way Things Should Be
* My receiving a copy of this novel from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.Updated
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