Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book Review: Finding Mr. Flood

By Gail Allison

Dara Flood finds more than comfort in routine and responsibility. She craves it. She lives a safe, uncomplicated life with her mother and her sister Angel. She has pizza with friends on Wednesdays, salsa class on Fridays, and when he’s available, she sees her boyfriend on Saturdays. She works a job that everyone says is beneath her at the dog shelter, but she knows that she’s making a difference in these animals’ lived. Despite all this, she’s always felt that the most interesting thing happened to her 13 days before she was born: her father went up the road for cigarettes and just kept on going. No one in her family has seen him since.

In "Finding Mr. Flood," Ciara Geraghty’s (first name pronounced Keira, like Keira Knightley) third novel, we’re invited into the Flood household. We soon learn that Dara’s older sister Angel is shining with life and vitality despite severe renal failure, and although she’s on the list for a kidney transplant, blood type matches are few and far between. After a potential donor ends up not being a match, Angel loses hope at an alarming rate, and Dara decides to take things into her own hands. She contacts a private investigator named Stanley to help her locate the elusive Mr. Flood in the hope that he’ll not only be a match, but will agree to donate a kidney. A long shot, but she has nothing left to lose at this point.

Throughout the novel, Dara learns more about herself than she ever thought possible. She learns that there’s nothing wrong with routine, but there’s nothing wrong with veering away from it as well. She also discovers that although she feels like she has to be serious and responsible all the time, there’s nothing wrong with letting go every once in awhile. And she’s not the only one evolving throughout the book. We meet a delightful cast of characters, all of whom are completely believable and incredibly engaging. The story definitely touches on some harder-hitting issues than you’d generally see in standard chick lit, but it doesn’t take away from the story at all. In fact, it provides a nice foil to the sweet and fluffy bits.

This book moves along at a nice pace. It wastes no time drawing you in, and you just want to keep reading once you’ve started. The way the blossoming romance between Dara and Stanley progressed was a refreshing change as well. There was no "they fell in love at first sight and were never apart again" stuff. It followed the natural, slightly choppy, rather awkward development of a budding romance. I really liked learning more about Stanley as well. So often authors only choose to concentrate character development on one or two main characters, but halfway through this novel, I realized that I felt like I actually knew all the characters that kept reappearing. I knew their flaws and foibles, and I could empathize with them through a number of different situations because of it.

I really enjoyed "Finding Mr Flood." It wasn’t clich├ęd, it wasn’t tedious, and it never lagged. I’m absolutely going to look for more of Ms Geraghty’s books ("Saving Grace" and "Becoming Scarlett") as soon as I can see over my to-be-read pile again. I just can’t get over how charming this book was. It was a delight to read, and although I was sad to put it down once it was over, it came to a very satisfying conclusion. If you’re a fan of Marian Keyes' style, you’ll definitely be drawn to this one!

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Karen said...

I absolutely love this author and can highly recommend Saving Grace and Becoming Scarlett :o)

Dee DeTarsio said...

Great review--I will read anything that pays homage to Marian Keyes! Thanks!