Mary A.

Review: Oona Out of Order

Released February 25, 2020;
352 pages

Author: Margarita Montimore

Overview from Barnes and Noble Website:

It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order…

Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met? Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.

Personal Review

The description of this book really drew me in. What an interesting concept to have the main character must live her life out of order! I thought the main character, Oona, was a very interesting character. I felt most of her dialogue and decisions were realistic (not necessarily what I would do, but all books would be pretty boring if they behaved and reacted in only ways I would approve). I walked away from this book fairly satisfied. My only two notes (and only two is quite a good!).

The first, the description of money. I understand the author wanted to avoid running into the issue of money. After all, it wouldn’t be a very interesting story if Oona wakes up as a 70-year old and not know your general income and how much money you have to spend. However, I would prefer this part of the story was left out entirely. It was quite odd to have each story spend time on an already shorter book on how she writes down investments and how she manages to be wealthy thanks to this time traveling nature. I understand she invested in her future partner’s restaurant idea, but wouldn’t it have been more compelling if she was more invested (pun intended) in where her money was going rather than she felt she can continue to give money on a potentially disastrous investment? It would be a slight change, but I think it would greatly improve the telling of the story. It would make her more of a player in the opening of the restaurant rather than being played as a jealous wife, we can see her inserting herself into that part of the story with more urgency and have more agency in what is happening rather than sitting on the side lines at some points wondering what is happening in another part of the story.

The second, the length and depth of the book. Each part of the book is interesting and worth reading, but once we get to the climax of the story – her marriage and her revelation about another character (trying to keep spoiler free) are fun and exciting turns, but I don’t feel like enough time was spent on these revelations. I would rather one of two options. Either (1) reduce the number of years the book highlights and go more in depth into the years they do choose to write about (as some years more yada-yada-yada’d past some events and could easily be taken out of the book without losing much). Or, (2) extend the length of the book. The concept lead to some interesting theories of whether or not one would change future events if given the opportunity and could easily run into the 4/500 pages.

The second point is one of the reasons this receives a higher rating. How often would many ask for more pages? Typically, books fall into the black hole of describing and adding too much that the reader just wants to move on to the next plot related event. I can say, I wanted more. I will keep an eye out for this author and see what else she has to show.

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