The Map of Us by Jules Preston #BookReview

The Map Of Us def

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One of the most original and charming books you will ever read, this is a must read for all those who love Eleanor Oliphant and The Keeper of Lost Things

A story of love, line graphs and lost directions

Violet North is wonderfully inconvenient. Abandoned by her family and lost in an imagined world of moors and adventure, her life changes in the space of just 37 words exchanged with a stranger at her front door.

Decades later, Daniel Bearing has inherited his father’s multi-million pound business, and is utterly lost. He has no idea who he is or where his life is headed.

When Violet’s granddaughter’s marriage falls apart, Tilly, always adept with numbers, compiles a detailed statistical report to pinpoint why. But the Compatibility Index Tilly creates has unforeseen consequences for everyone in her world.

Tilly and Daniel share a secret too. 10.37am, April 22nd.
Soon, a complex web of secrets and lies is exposed and an adventure begins with a blue typewriter…

amazon uk

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I wish I could have liked The Map Of Us more but I’m afraid we weren’t the best match. There was perhaps 76% probability that we would hit it off but that means there was a 34% chance of the opposite. It’s something Tilly would say; she must have rubbed off on me after all :-).

I have to admit I was excited to read this novel mostly because of the reference to that other novel, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, but I couldn’t find the same connection or recognition in Matilda – or Tilly as she’s called by 3 people – that I found in Eleanor.

The novel was told in alternating voices in short snappy chapters of only a few pages, or even just half a page at times, so it was easy enough to digest, but on the the other hand the big cast of quirky characters that changed so quickly made it difficult to get invested in them and remember them sometimes as well.

The author also introduced also a few different literary styles that some will undoubtedly find original but I found it halted the flow of the story somewhat. Some of them worked really well like hearing her mother’s voice through letters addressed to Tilly, and others – like the almost poetic entries of her father’s thoughts in almost three word sentences – not so much.

The thread that followed Violet North, the grandmother who starts writing stories on her blue typewriter, was the one I looked forward to returning to most of all and I really hoped she would find happiness in the end. She lives in a world of her own and created a fictuous character who roams the Great Moors and lets her have adventures when she can not. Like Violet, most of the other characters in this novel live in a world of their own: Tilly’s father’s passion is building sand sculptures (no dolphins though!), Tilly’s world seems to be built by numbers, her sister Katherine’s world is filled with the haunt for the perfect handbag (she’s got 342! bags) and her brother Matt is the world authority on the color blue. Can they break out of their limited worlds and make a connection with someone outside of their world? It’ll be quite a journey.

This novel was a bit out of my ‘rational’ comfort zone and a bit too wordery for me, making it difficult to understand why some of it was relevant to the story so I guess that’s why it didn’t really work out for me. It reminds me a little of We Were Liars by E. Lockheart, where the prose also rubbed me the wrong way. If you like originality and you’re looking for a quirky read though this might be exactly your cup of tea.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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30 thoughts on “The Map of Us by Jules Preston #BookReview

  1. Wonderful review! This definitely sounds like one of those cases where you HAVE to connect to the main character for the story to be successful… And if you don’t, well, I totally get your reaction. It won’t be the first time that happens to me either. I’m really curious about this one now though, because I did love Eleanor and I like my quirky characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your reaction. I do feel guilty somehow for not liking a novel (and then seeing it shared for all to see ;-)) but I couldn’t help it.. I loved Eleanor as well (top 10 fav even) but this plot and writing style was too weird for me. It might still be available on Netgalley, can’t remember the archive date now..

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was so curious I checked on NG and it was in the Read Now section, so I got a copy… Then read it in a day. I ended up liking it better than you did, although I agree with the writing style being kind of weird. Especially the dad’s POV was on the border of annoying and I would have liked having less POVs to better connect with at least one of them. It felt a bit messy and lacked cohesion until the final pages kind of wanted to mix all POVs together… I liked the quirkiness of it all though. But yeah, Eleanor is without doubt miles better, and this also has to do with the fact the story focuses on her mainly. (I think if The Map Of Us would have focused on either Tilly or Violet things would have been different.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh waw, I’m happy my review didn’t stop you from reading this :-). Even if you liked it better than me it is nice that you get why it didn’t really work for me. I didn’t get to know them and there was so much detail that didn’t seem relevant at all.. it was just too quirky for me, you’re obviously more broad-minded :-). Thanks for letting me know Yvo!!

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      • I did ended up rating it a 2,5 star rating, so it wasn’t ‘that’ much better an experience. The story and characters had a lot of potential, but like you said, there were too many different POVs and details and this prevents us readers to get to know the characters that matter.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. And your post makes me want to read Eleanor.

    Sorry to hear that this one didn’t work out for you Inge though I can see why, especially on the narrative styles. I hope that you’ll enjoy your next read.Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oooh, I can see why you would request the book as I remember how much you liked Eleanor. I mean, everybody likes- loves!- Eleanor 🙂 Maybe it was difficult for this book to follow in the steps of a big title and I love your honest review- the elements you mentioned that didn’t work for you are completely reasonable! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Stacking The Shelves #45 – June 16th | It's All About Books

  5. Pingback: ARC REVIEW: The Map Of Us – by Jules Preston | It's All About Books

  6. I feel like this one was a little bit let down by comparisons to other really fantastic books like Elinor Oliphant – it was so different. Completely agree with everything you’ve said about it. I was really ready to review it quite negatively while reading, but found that once I’d finished it I actually felt very fond of all the characters. It stuck with me so it wouldn’t be fair for me to criticise it too harshly!

    Liked by 1 person

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