Marrow: A Love Story by Elizabeth Lesser | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.5)
As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the
publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my
opinions in any way.
When I was growing up, my Grandmother used to tell me I had to give a book a real chance and dig deep to understand it. I find this is probably one of the reasons I never leave a book unfinished, even if I am not fond of the story in question. Marrow, a memoir that hits you right in the heart, was one of those books that I almost didn't finish at times but damnit, I could feel my Grandma shaking her head at me in spirit. Because it is a memoir, there's this underlying feeling of intimacy to it that will keep readers focused in some of its more pivotal moments.
However, Marrow did have its slow moments. Many, actually. It's not going to be for everyone and while it moved me on many occasions, it's not something that I will pick up again in the future. Marrow is all about family and reconnecting. It's about what illness can do to a person and those you are, or once were, connected with. In this, it stands out in recent non-fiction releases and Lesser really put her heart and soul into this.
There are moments when you feel like you are living in her memories and that is a real treat. Her writing moves you in its greater good and that alone should attract an audience. A lot of people are going to be put-off by the tone and try to make it into what it is not. And that's their own fault. Marrow is filled with growth and heartache; so much so that sometimes it becomes overwhelming and other times it grows slow. I think that's my main problem with the novel and what made my rating be what it is, and what makes it less captivating than other stories I've read in a similar vein.
On one hand, I adored the message behind it and the way it is told. On the other hand, I kept sitting the book down and finding it almost like a chore to read and that was upsetting to say the least. Marrow is one of those things that is heartfelt at its core but also very hit or miss--you're going to either love it or you're going to dislike it.