Bitter Like Orange Peel by Jessica Bell

Bitter Like Orange Peel by Jessica Bell

And yet another for NetGalley November challenge

Book Review:

I had to twice check that this book was not a YA or teen read: it isn’t, but the protagonist is so blatantly immature that even her approach and speech patterns are that of someone half her stated age of twenty-five.

While the author has made great efforts to deal with difficult situations, the character of Kit was one that I was dying to shake: adults learn to take responsibility for the here and now, and don’t constantly whine about “but I never had”.  They place blame rightly or wrongly at a more appropriate target, or they learn to grow up and move on.  It took quite a while to see any sort of growth for her, and I got so transfixed by the other characters who were, in my opinion, far better developed and presented that finding one out of 6 major characters dis-likable was not the worst.

The other characters in this story: all six women have one thing, one person in common.  Kit’s father Roger:  the man around whom the plot revolves.   Told from the perspective of each character, we see how the absence of the father, lover, husband, friend; leaving each woman with a void, an emptiness from things unsaid, undone or unresolved.

It was an interesting read, although the continual ‘poor me’ from Kit was an overwhelming damper on my enjoyment of the story overall.  Bell has managed to capture each woman and her own perspective on Roger, on his absence, his meaning to their lives and even on their efforts to move forward.   I’m still undecided about my overall liking for the story: well-crafted with great characters, even the less than savory for me, Kit, the issues are treated with a deft hand and show great ability to detail the “what happens when…”

Bitter Like Orange Peel by Jessica Bell

Title: Bitter Like Orange Peel
Author: Jessica Bell
Genre: Literary Fiction, Literary Fiction /Family Saga
Published by: Vine Leaves Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 268
Rated: three-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon iTunes IndieBound
See this Title on Goodreads

Six women. One man. Seven secrets. One could ruin them all.

Kit is a twenty-five-year-old archaeology undergrad, who doesn’t like to get her hands dirty. Life seems purposeless. But if she could track down her father, Roger, maybe her perspective would change.

The only problem—Roger is as rotten as the decomposing oranges in her back yard according to the women in her life: Ailish, her mother—an English literature professor who communicates in quotes and clichés, and who still hasn’t learned how to express emotion on her face; Ivy, her half-sister—a depressed archaeologist, with a slight case of nymphomania who fled to America after a divorce to become a waitress; and Eleanor, Ivy’s mother—a pediatric surgeon who embellishes her feelings with medical jargon, and named her daughter after "Intravenous."

Against all three women’s wishes, Kit decides to find Roger.
Enter a sister Kit never knew about.
But everyone else did.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About Jessica Bell

If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she'd give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a 30-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, award-winning poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she's written.

Being the daughter of a semi-famous rock 'n' roll duo from Melbourne, she grew up surrounded by song. For a while it seemed logical to travel the musician's path, especially when her first band, spAnk, hit it off in the Melbourne indie music scene back in the late 90s. Although she spent her years writing and recording dozens of songs she decided she also had a love for the written word, and began to pursue a career as a writer.

She started as a poet, drawing from her musical background and etching her thoughts and feelings into verse. Those stanzas soon turned into sentences and paragraphs, and eventually into published books. Her literary voice is said to overflow with "lyrical descriptions, unique metaphors, tight dialogue, and an abundance of sensory detail." She has also been told she has the ability to take a seemingly ordinary three-chord type story and turn it into a main stage event.

In addition to her novels, her poetry collections (including FABRIC, which was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2012), and her pocket writing guides (WRITING IN A NUTSHELL SERIES), she has published a variety of works in online and print literary journals and anthologies, including Australia's Cordite Review, and the anthologies 100 STORIES FOR QUEENSLAND and SHADOWS AT THE STAGE DOOR, both released through Australia's, eMergent Publishing.

Additionally, she is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and makes a living as an editor/writer for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

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