The State We’re In by Adele Parks

There are four narrative voices in The State We’re In: two of the ‘baby boomers’ generation, Eddie and Clara, and two in their thirties: Dean (Eddie’s son, abandoned by his father at six) and Jo (Clara’s loved and cherished daughter). Their lives criss-cross in the course of the story, as do their narratives. The baton of the narrative is passed from one character to another as they present their own takes on the same events and nudge the story to the next stage. The prose is vibrant, light and flows well, but for me there was a little too much of psycho-analysis and introspection going on at the expense of the actual action. I was told, rather than shown, what the characters were like. This was a bit overcooked.
The State We’re In is a romance mirrored across those two generations in a quite contrived way which doesn’t quite ring true for a cynic like me. This is because I’m not your typical romance reader; it isn’t a genre of choice for me. I found the coincidences bemusing rather than engaging; Jo was entirely irritating and Dean stereotypical in his macho-man ways, even when he warmed up to Jo, because then it all became predictable.
The ending didn’t grab me.
However, The State We’re In is a good book. It chronicles generational mores, times and ways of life really aptly.

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