A Bit Much by Sarah Jackson – ARC Review

About

Alice is twenty-four and falling apart. She’s lost her job, her appetite, her ability to sleep. And now she’s worried she’s going to lose Mia, her closest friend, who’s being treated for a serious illness. On the days Alice can get herself out of bed, she visits Mia at the hospital. While they sink into familiar patterns–Alice makes Mia laugh, Mia tells Alice she needs to get laid–they know their friendship is changing, and they can’t control what will happen in the days ahead.

Still focused on Mia, while trying to convince others she’s a stable, happy person, Alice meets her neighbour James–someone she used to try to avoid. They’re interested in each other, but Alice, who is a lethal combination of judgmental and insecure, is hesitant; she has never had luck with dating, and she thinks now is a weird time since Mia needs her. And Alice figures he probably sucks anyway. Mia encourages Alice to be social, while attempting to hide her own loneliness and fear as her body breaks down. But as Alice tries to push herself to do more, including allowing herself to get close to James, she struggles to move forward knowing Mia can’t.

A Bit Much takes an intimate look at female friendships, new relationships, and the disorienting times in which we live. Brilliantly caustic and strangely funny, it introduces Sarah Jackson as a captivating new voice in Canadian literature.

Thoughts

If you took a gander at my very length instagram caption, you may have noticed that I’ve fallen completely in love with this novel. The way Sarah Jackson writes Alice’s voice is so clear, that there isn’t for one second the reader is pulled from the text. It’s like reading a stream of conscience, or a series of diary entries. Alice is raw, and flawed and conflicted, and although she knows she should, is unable to reach out.

It’s been a while since I’ve rooted so hard for a character in a first person POV novel, but there’s just something about Alice that I really like. I guess it’s because she’s aware of how she judges others, and how she catches herself on these things. She’s not afraid to acknowledge the fact that she’s flawed, and on top of that there is so much going on.

She’s relatable, and reading this novel really opened my mind to a lot of things. Like how often do we measure other peoples problems as a way of allowing us to avoid difficult situations, or justify our behaviour and decisions? How often to we judge others before we get to know them? What habits or fears do we pick up when we let our minds run, and how many of us are hanging on a thread while trying to present ourselves as stable for our friends, family and colleagues?

This novel made me laugh, and cry, and want to curl up in a ball and hug my stuffed animals…but it also allowed me to reflect on moments in my own life. If you loved Holden in Catcher in the Rye, you’ll adore this novel.

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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