I think I need to stop requesting stories set in New York City. I tend to find that the characters spend so much time acting cool, that it turns me off of them.Alice & Oliver did have that issue and without the medical crisis plotline I would have not enjoyed the read at all based on the characters. The titular Alice and Oliver are a hip, young NYC couple. They live in a loft in the Meatpacking district with their small daughter named Doe. Then on a trip to visit family, Alice falls very ill. She has cancer and the impact on her small family will carry for years.
The plot was interesting and the way Alice’s diagnosis resonated throughout her life was depicted well. The writing of Charles Bock had some great moments. He crafted some deep places and weaved some very interesting sub-plots. The pacing was great in the first half and then slipped in the second; at times it was difficult to sense how much time had lapsed. The world built was solid. Encompassing just a few locations it all worked together. Any story with a life threatening illness at the center will be filled with emotions. Unfortunately some of mine were negative as I just could not gel with some of the characters. Speaking of characters, I super disliked Oliver. I know I was supposed to feel for him, and for how his wife’s diagnosis affected him as well, but seriously, what an ass. Alice as well, would not have been likeable without that edge of illness to crack her veneer. Again, I just think the hipness that NYC characters tend to throw off just turns me off.
Alice & Oliver did have some great heart wrenching, gut punch moments. No story with a horrible disease, a family and the far reaching impact cannot have some amazing moments. But for me, the characters dragged down what could have been a very impactful tale. Charles Bock was able to write a lot of tender and special moments, just not enough for me to over come my distaste with the actions of the characters.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.