Review of ‘Somewhere along the way’ by Kathleen Knowles
I have to admit… I had a bit of trouble with this lesbian historical fiction book. It’s my first read by this author, and I did like her writing style, but I personally had some very mixed feelings and didn’t enjoy the story as much as I wanted to. Let me try to explain…
I want to mention right off the bat that this is not a romance novel. Yes, it is graphic at times when the main character brings women home, but this is definitely not a romance. I would put this solidly in the category of a fictional autobiography of sorts, with the main character essentially telling her story of her past. The book is set in the 1980s, back when AIDS was first becoming an issue, and it’s dark.
My biggest issue is how much I disliked the main character, Max. This book is told in first person from Max’s point of view, so you spend the entire story in her headspace, and it’s not a fun place to be. Max is an extremely self-destructive person. This book is very heavy on alcoholism, substance abuse, and all-around bad behavior. Max uses women, treats herself and those around her like crap, and just is an all-around difficult character to like. Because of that, I found myself having trouble rooting for her.
Despite Max’s issues, I still enjoyed reading the first two-thirds of the novel, all the while hoping for some redeeming characteristic to show up in Max, but it really never did. I know we’re not really supposed to like her, but I still need to connect with a character to really love a novel. Additionally, once she made the choice to get help for her drug and alcohol issues, the last third of the novel felt way too preachy and pro-AA, and I found myself skimming. The last third of this one got tiresome very, very fast.
Again, I actually liked the author’s writing style, but unfortunately, just couldn’t enjoy the story itself quite as much as I hoped. Max’s character was just hard to like, and the last third of the novel really turned me off. Despite all of that, I will absolutely give Knowles’ next book a shot though. For me, this came in at 3.25 stars.
Many thanks to Bold Strokes for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.