The Breakaway, a review by Di

posted in: Di | 0

Jennifer Weiner

Atria Books
August 29, 2023
400 pages | Goodreads | Amazon

I have been a huge fan of Jennifer Weiner since the early 2000s. I’ve read all of her books. While some were better than others, they were all enjoyable.

I really hate to report that I had to struggle with the book. And, I can’t pinpoint why. The story is about a group bicycle ride from New York City to Niagara Falls, Canada. Abby, our main character, leads the group. The chapters are about different members of the group, but they always interconnect.

Abby makes some choices that I don’t agree with. But, that does not cause my struggle with the book. There are other characters that I don’t like. Perhaps, that’s the cause. Sebastian, in particular, was not likeable. The reconnection of Sebastian and Abby after 2 years is totally unrealistic. I did not enjoy the long descriptions of riding in the rain. Though, I’m sure it is realistic.

I follow Ms. Weiner on FB, I know that she had found great joy in riding over the last few years. She transfers that joy to Abby in the book.

A bright spot in the story was a foursome (2 couples) of senior citizens, well into their 70s. They were biking on the tour but also had a motor home along in case they felt they keep up at any point. They called themselves the Spoke’n Four. Great name, great pun! While they didn’t have huge roles in the book, they were cute.

I think that there was too much packed into the book. The bicycle tour, Abby’s struggle with her mother’s views of a full-figured daughter, the relationships of Abby and Sebastian and Mark, the results of Sebastian’s insecurities, the dilemma of a young teen girl on the ride. There’s more but that would involve spoilers. And, there were still more characters, though they lurked in the background. There was a general mood of angst throughout. And, too much going on.

I did like the ending. Again, I don’t want to give away anything. Everything was wrapped up to my satisfaction.

I can already see that there are many positive reviews, and I’m happy about that. There are some claiming that there is a political agenda. When a writer talks about things that are relevant in our times, I do not consider that an agenda. Not every book is for everyone. I still look forward to Jennifer Weiner’s next book. And, I look forward to getting back in the groove with her next choice of story!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the Advance Readers Copy.

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