Book Review: Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

TW: Harm to children, death, violence, suicidal ideations, reference to sexual assault, mental illness I finally picked up Since ...

TW: Harm to children, death, violence, suicidal ideations, reference to sexual assault, mental illness

I finally picked up Since We Fell after it being on my shelf since 2017. It was one of my Book of the Month picks back then and I read it in an effort to read my backlog of unread BOTM picks. Dennis Lehane is an incredibly well-known author, with bestsellers like Shutter Island and Mystic River - both of which I've seen (and loved) the film adaptations, but Since We Fell is my first Lehane novel and I can totally understand the hype.

Rachel is the daughter of well-known and possibly sociopathic author, who she never quite got along with growing up. Unfortunately, her mother was all she had as she had no clue who her father was and her mother kept it a secret she took to the grave. Through a series of searches, Rachel hunts down her father and learns more about herself than perhaps she'd like to know. Nonetheless, she rises through a successful journalism career that comes crashing down after a public breakdown on live news. What follows is a series of twists and turns as Rachel tries to find a semblance of normal in her life. 

I'll shoot straight - the first half of this book is long and slow and provides little in the way of the plot line. There is so much information given, mostly as a way of character development. Unfortunately, it just made the first half of the book feel like a prologue - I could even say it was inconsequential. It could have been narrowed down into a couple of chapters and I think would've had a similar effect. It was nice info to have, but it felt almost like a different book compared to the fast-paced second half of the novel.

The second half of the book started going, however, and didn't stop until the book ended. It was exhilarating and twisty, if not a little corny and unrealistic at times. I had to know what was going to happen next and found myself flipping through the pages so quickly.

I will say - there were some weird unexplainable situations that I thought would lead to something within the story. For example, there were two different characters described in very similar ways at totally different parts of the book that literally had nothing to do with each other. In another part of the book, Rachel assumes a character's name (but never says it out loud), then later the character introduces himself with that name (how'd he know?), but come to find out later - that's not his name, but we never actually learn his name. What? I know. Very confusing.

"She was guilty, after all, of success, a success that stemmed from birthright and privilege. She took hope for granted, saw opportunity as her due, and had never really had to worry about vanishing into a sea of unseen faces and unseen voices." - Since We Fell, Dennis Lehane

Overall, I really enjoyed the novel. It started slow, but had tons of character development (specifically for the main protagonist, Rachel) and by the end, I was soaring through its pages. I definitely had some concerns with the unexplainable, but based off my first experience reading Lehane, I'd definitely read more from him.

Goodreads rating: ★★★★☆

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