Oona Out of Order, a review by Allison

posted in: Allison | 0

Margarita Montimore

327 pages
Published on February 25, 2020 by Flatiron Books

This delightful read begins on New Year’s Eve, 1982, on the eve of our main character Oona’s birthday. As the clock strikes midnight, Oona begins an amazing adventure where she jumps to another year of her life. This happens each year, until the next January 1st, when she jumps again. Cool, right? The thing is, the years aren’t in order.

I’ll let you all unpack that for a minute. Oona. Time jumps to a different year of her life. Every January 1st. Out of Order.

The premise is brilliant. BRILLIANT! Imagine hopping from age 19 to 51…and living in that year, experiencing all that age offers you….and then…..waking up at age 23…then 35……then maybe 21 and so on…

One thing that is so cool about this book is the opportunity Montimore has to foreshadow without the reader even knowing it is happening. There were so many “a-ha!” moments as Oona lives through her out-of-order years. She may be meeting someone for the first time, while we, as the reader, could’ve already been introduced. In some instances, we have no clue who a new character is until another jump, where Oona lives that experience.

Hence, “a-ha!”

The cast of characters is great. Without giving anything away, you will have to trust me on this one. I can’t tell you who certain people are; you have to find out from year to year…..or, actually, from this year, way back to that one and then far, far ahead to that one over there……I know, it sounds confusing. But it really isn’t.

This is-so far-my favorite read of 2020. That’s a tall order, as I have read A LOT of good books this year. But something resonated so strongly with this story. Maybe because I have always said- from a very young age- how I would love to travel back in time and live among my ancestors. I’m not talking 1700’s here- I’m not a sadist. I like heat and running water and you know… heated running water. But back to the 1930’s–before the US entered WW2, when my Italian great-grandparents and their family were just a decade-and-a-half settled in this country, growing their own food, making their own wine and running a corner gas station. Back to where I would be able to live among those aunts and uncles who I never really got to know.

This book is NOT set in the thirties or about a large Italian family. Or traveling back in time to live with ancestors. But I am strongly drawn to stories that break the run-of-the-mill linear timeline. And that certainly happens in Oona Out of Order.

It is an amazing, fantastical story. It’s about family… and love and forgiveness and regrets… about the mother/daughter bond, first loves, making mistakes… righting wrongs… and a really REALLY cool adventure.

The music and fads were placed perfectly throughout.  I loved being back in the 90’s, all wrapped up in the past with big hair and tight-rolled jeans. Montimore didn’t have to tell us what year it was; we could easily figure it out through the pop culture references she drops into the chapters.

So if you can handle a bit of a fun, chaotic, exciting trip around time, this is definitely a book I would recommend!





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