Review: ‘Life is Fine’ by Allison Whittenberg, a story of forbidden love and immortal poetry

Life Is FineLife Is Fine by Allison Whittenberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was another quick(and I do mean quick) story by Allison Whittenberg. In this book, Samara is a drifter in school who smokes and has a crappy family life with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend Q. She even has an orangutan she visits often at the zoo. Life seems pretty dull.

Until Mr. Jerome Holbrook, Samara’s substitute teacher for English. He burst in the classroom quoting Emily Dickinson and Andrew Marvell. Samara finds the seventy something year old with blue eyes and brown face- striking. You might even say she finds him attractive. And because “Mr. Brook”- that’s what she calls him, shares poetry with the class, the poetry began to reveal other students personalities. They were intrigued and engaged with discussions in class.

My Reaction?
The book gets five stars for good premise and poetry. However it loses a star for brevity and I actually like brevity sometimes, but the story was so good I wanted it to go on longer. Second, the author made me care for characters which is a good thing. Samara’s mother is absentee mostly- working and dining out with her abusive boyfriends leaving Samara alone to fend for herself every night.

A few minor characters deserve their own story I believe- like Steph’Annie and the AP boy, however I see through Samara’s eyes and the reason why she may have an attraction to the teacher. He shares poetry with her and actually cares for her.

The book was kind of touching, sad in the end but the overall message is there.

View all my reviews


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