Title: This Won’t End Well
Author: Camille Pagán
Format: E-book, 295 pages
This Won’t End Well is in the first-person point of view via journal entries, emails, and a few texts by or to the protagonist, Annie. A play-by-the rules Scientist, Annie loses her job and her fiancé all at once. Her boss harasses her until she resigns, and her fiancé calls as he boards a flight to Paris to “find himself” without her. Annie vows to isolate herself from unknown, and thus unpredictable, people and continues to push aside dreams of graduate school at MIT to care for her mother. Constrained by a non-compete clause in her former job’s contract, Annie cleans houses for only the neighbors she already knows. Annie makes friends, despite her efforts not to, and they are the most important friends of her future.
At first, I was a little annoyed by the journal entry style, because it felt juvenile and had an inherent wordiness to it. But it does have a purpose. Annie grew on me in a way I don’t think she would have in another format. Pagan took a chance on a unique approach, and I appreciated it more as I went. I loved the transformation Annie made, and I don’t think I would’ve felt so proud of her if I hadn’t been in her head from the start. The characters developed as Annie got to know them. Her new friends were mysterious at first, as she interacted with them with suspicion. Still, they grew in her journal entries as naturally as I felt they should live in a small, mid-west town.
Themes that stood out to me included the power of perspective and vulnerability. Annie thought she lived with her mother for her mother’s sake, but after a trip out of her comfort zone, she gained a new perspective. The ensuing revelation was freeing. Her fresh perspective further exposed how much she sacrificed to avoid vulnerability. That revelation unlocked the courage she had inside and propelled her into a new beginning.
This novel was just what I was looking for at this time. It was light and easy to read while offering friendly companionship and a hopeful ending.
Rating Summary: 9.8
Unique, Intimate, Thoughtful