Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Review ~ One Big Beautiful Thing - Marie Flanigan

One Big Beautiful ThingEbook received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Published: May 2nd 2013



In this touching debut novel, artist Kate Abernethy is trying to put her life back together after the death of her boyfriend. At first, moving back in with her mother seems like a good way to sort out her finances and re-evaluate her life—instead it proves to be a minefield of doubt and recrimination. Floundering, she pushes herself to take new opportunities so she can rebuild her life and have a second chance at happiness.

My Opinion

I thought I'd take a chance on this book as even though the description doesn't really give much away, it was enough to intrigue me into accepting. As well as this the cover didn't really catch my eye and the crucifix made me a little wary as I don't like religious fiction but thankfully this book wasn't full of Catholic beliefs. There were some but I'll get to those in a minute.

One Big Beautiful Thing kept my interest for a few reasons. The first was because not everything is given away at once. Things such as how Robert (Kate's boyfriend) died or what Kate had done that was so bad in her teens were kept from the reader which kept me guessing and turning pages to find out the answer. Also as one problem was solved another emerged to keep you reading.  

Another thing was the romance, it was sweet, tense, awkward and many other emotions that kept it interesting and engaging as you didn't know how it was going to play out. I really liked Aiden and Kate's relationship as it felt natural and easy. It was also believable and the emotions and events were described well and drew you into the characters lives. At times though, it did feel like it was lacking something to make me feel wow and distinguish it from other romances.

As well as this I liked the start, with Kate subbing for her mother's art teaching job. Her feelings towards the job were developed well and the small, subtle moments of care for the children were nice. Her creative side really came through and the way she finds herself and deals with her trauma through the art was realistic. Flanigan used the art cleverly to show the character's feelings about events she didn't describe in such detail, for example identifying Robert's body at the morgue. Through the art work you see another side of Kate that is more vulnerable.

One thing I didn't like with the book was the religious side. I don't mean the religious activities such as going to mass but the way Kate always put things down to 'Catholic guilt' and because she was brought up with a Catholic education. At the start, the book establishes that Kate was a bit of a rebel. I mean she has tattoos, a pink strip in her hair, piercings, dresses in a 'non-conservative' way and it's obvious her mum disapproves of most of her actions as well as her choice in men so she seemed like she was going to be a fun protagonist who kept true to those things.

However slowly those things disappear and although they are made a big issue in the beginning everything but the tattoo and men go, some for certain reason, others are just never mentioned again. As well as this Kate started becoming self-depreciating and blaming certain actions on 'Catholic Guilt' and her education which was just plain annoying as personally it made her appear weaker in my eyes as it was an easy excuse. Also for me it didn't seem believable, as it didn't feel like something she would do. I mean if you spend your life trying to get away from something and rebelling are you really going to turn around and say "it's Catholic guilt?" Personally I don't think you are and this was the major issue I had as for me it lessened Kate's credibility as it felt like she wasn't being true to herself or picking and choosing moments that were most convenient. I just don't see what made her turn back to religion as besides her mother's influence there wasn't a lot else I could see that caused it.

Overall this book is a nice read that has some mystery elements in it that are developed well and keep you turning pages. Personally for me there is something missing from the romance that made me feel wow, and rather it was just a sweet average romance. That is just my opinion though, I felt it was lacking something I can't put my finger on. However if you like sweet romances that involve real problems and situations you may want to check this out.



  1. Ugh. The words "Catholic guilt" are so annoying. I kind of know what she's talking about because I'm catholic and I've heard the phrase before. But it's a very whiny expression. I like the while art thing. I haven't read a book where the protagonist was an artist in a long time. I'm glad she finds love again even if it wasn't great fireworks like you hoped it be.

    1. I know, I don't normally openly admit I am too or that I had a faith education (it was the school not the religion that sent me there) as I don't really consider myself one but I have heard it before and understand the phrase. For me it's an easy excuse though. Coming from a Catholic education I've seen many people disregard/rebel against the faith which is why it didn't seem believable to me when Kate used it.

      The artist and paintings were created very well though and was one of the main things I liked as I could relate to the form of expression and although the love interest wasn't fireworks is was a sweet feel good romance most of the time :)


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