Newest Review: ... the story of a father and son lost out on remote mountains after a skiing accident, despite the cover telling me different. And to be hon... more
Divided in love, united in grief...
The Divide - Nicholas Evans
Member Name: jeffjen
The Divide - Nicholas Evans
Advantages: Well written, engaging read.
Disadvantages: A little slow in the middle section.
The Divide begins with the discovery of the body of a young woman buried in the ice on a remote mountain creek. The body is identified as Abbie Cooper, a young girl on the run from the FBI, wanted for murder and acts of eco-terrorism.
After the discovery by a man and his son out skiing in the area, the devastation for Abbie's family deepens into mystery. How did she die? And what was the trail of events that led this much loved girl so tragically astray?
Abbie's story and that of her family, her brother Josh and estranged parents Sarah and Ben is revealed through flashbacks after the discovery of Abbie's body. Through these flashbacks we discover the events leading to her tragic death and how a loving and intelligent girl was led astray from her family.
It is a journey of discovery and redemption and ultimately the story of a family fractured by betrayal.
After spotting this book on my daughter's bookshelf and wanting something to read, I picked it up, not really sure if it would be my cup of tea to be honest, but it piqued my interest enough to give it a go.
I thought at first that this was going to be the story of a father and son lost out on remote mountains after a skiing accident, despite the cover telling me different. And to be honest, the opening pages were quite exciting and I wouldn't have minded if it had been a tale of survival, as I found after the initial excitement, the story then went on a huge flashback featuring Abbie's life, but concentrating more on the relationship between her parents, Sarah and Ben. After this initial drama and excitement, I did feel a little disappointed as the pace slowed right down and the story shifted, but still found the writing engaging enough to keep me reading.
The Cooper family at first appear to be a close and loving New York family who enjoyed their yearly holidays in Montana at a place called 'The Divide.'
It soon appears, that despite the loving exterior, things are not as loving under the surface and it soon became apparent that the title 'The Divide' has different meanings, as it's not just the name of the place where the Cooper family spend their holidays, it also describes a family divided and torn apart, but by what exactly isn't all that clear.
Ben and Sarah are characters I found I had alternating sympathy with, but then found that I didn't actually care for either of them very much. As their marriage crumbles, I found at first that I felt sorry for Ben who appeared to be a loving family guy and I thought he was married to a woman who had became indifferent to him and his needs and was quite cold towards him. However, this changed as I then began to see a controlling side to Ben, a selfish streak and a few hints that he wasn't the loyal husband he appeared to be. Indeed there were few clues to say his later actions were more than just a mid-life crisis.
The breakdown in the relationship between Ben and Sarah is the central part of the story. It causes a lot of bitterness all round, which Abbie in particular suffers with as she cannot forgive her father and becomes increasingly distant from her parents. At first Abbie seems a happy, loving girl who then later appears to become disillusioned with love and turns her back on it, venting her anger and emotions on protests instead. The power of this story is portraying the effects of a marriage breakdown can have on all concerned and how a united family can become a family divided in loyalty, anger and grief.
Having witnessed the spoiling of the Montana countryside due to industry, she falls in with eco-terrrorists and under the influence of an older man, Rolf. The events leading to her death are then slowly revealed. And I mean slowly. I did wish at times that the pace would speed up but it remained strangely engaging. The last fifty pages or so were as exciting as the first, but I did think that some of the middle section could have been shortened.
The fact that I didn't really like the characters of Ben and Sarah probably didn't help. I found Ben to be self-indulgent, controlling and too sure of himself and Sarah was quite cold, although being married to Ben probably contributed to much of this and her reaction to their break-up showed that she did actually love Ben, whilst it seemed that Ben didn't know what he wanted other than to be adored. Any sympathy I did have certainly went to Sarah.
Nicholas Evans' talent is that he is a good story teller and manages to engage the reader throughout. The Divide is 438 pages long and whilst a chunk of that could be taken out in my opinion, I found the fact it is drawn out didn't irritate me as much as I expected it to.
The closure to this tragic tale also surprised me, but ultimately I was left thinking would Abbie have still been alive if her parents had not split up and it is this question which Evans explores well here and describes convincingly the emotions, the what ifs and the if onlys, as well as the guilt which makes up the final part of this tragic tale of an intelligent, lively young girl who is led into a path of destruction. The power of this story comes from portraying the effects a marriage breakdown can have on all concerned and how a united family can become a family divided in loyalty, anger and grief, with tragic consequences.
I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it.
Summary: I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would!