Addison Jones is the pen name of a dear friend of mine; Cynthia Rogerson who mentored me last summer after I won the Moniack Mhor Young Writers Award. Cynthia mentored me for three months and after I went to her book launch in January, I knew I just had to read her book. And it was fantastic. Books are supposed to make you feel something and make you think and it did just that. It starts with a young couple; Billy and Jack the day they meet in 1952 and then it skips forward 60 years like a time machine to 60 years later when they are both 80 and shows what marriage has done to them and how it has changed them. Then each chapter moves you a few chapters back in their lives so we see them getting younger each time. As a structural choice, this works so effectively because, by the end, you’re engrossed to why they became the way they were in 2014. It’s also really interesting how some things don’t cross their mind at all when their 80 but become more and more engrained in their mind with every chapter you read. I also really enjoyed the 3rd person slightly distant narrative because as Cynthia/Addison said at the book launch the structure is meant to be like a time machine that is spinning backwards and forwards and hurtling into random years and decades and the choice in 3rd person narrative really emphasises. It feels like a 3rd person hurtling along in the time machine and telling the story of Milly and Jack, wherever the time machine lands.
As characters, Billy/Millie and Jack are people we grow to love and feel we really know as it feels like we get a glimpse into their live and snapshots of some of their happiest and darkest moments. They’re raw, ordinary and flawed people and because the story goes into so much depth of their lives, there are no villains or good or evil. Just 2 people trying to make love work and all the time chasing the American Dream while not realising the best days of their lives are not going to be brought to them by money or alcohol. It’s the tiny moments and I think Cynthia/Addison get’s this across so well. The children as also very well fleshed out minor characters because it is much their lives we are getting a glimpse of as Millie and Jack. The children as they regress with each few years into the teenagers and children, I believe that the children are who mould Milly and Jack into the people they become. This book also gave me a fascinating insight into marriage and as one reviewer said ‘not how to make love happen but to how to make it last’ and that’s definitely what it did.