Some Maintenance Required by Marie-Renee Lavoie (Audio Book — Fiction)

Writing: 4/5 Plot: 3/5 Characters: 4/5 Audio reader: 3/5
A sweet novel about a young woman kind of wandering through her own life: school ends and she contemplates university, she gets a job and experiences the drama of group dynamics, and she watches over (and becomes quite attached to) a badly neglected 2nd grader. And then … circumstances beyond her control slam her in the face. It’s a story about bringing love (and continual ongoing maintenance) to our relationships — with family, friends, and even possessions like a favorite car.
The writing is very good with many memorable phrases (unfortunately I listened to this in the car and therefore couldn’t capture any of them) and depictions of places and situations — both real and imagined, internal and external. I enjoyed the characters — the guys who worked at the garage with her father, her best friend, and a veterinarian-in-training who likes her, but whose social class makes her uncomfortable. And her mother — the best character of all. I also love the role that books play in the world that she and her mother have created.
Listening to this audio version of this particular book did highlight something for me that I hadn’t really noticed before. The reader did a good job with voices, pacing, etc. but she also imparted a distinct personality to each person through vocal pitch, pace, and tone over and above that which you would perceive simply from reading the words. Specifically, I found the main character to have a hint of whininess (that I didn’t like) which may or may not have been intended by the author. Overall I enjoyed listening but did take note of that point.

Thank you to Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on July 5th, 2022.

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