Something Like Normal

Something like Normal - Trish Doller When Something Like Normal arrived on my doorstep, I was excited. I hadn’t asked for a review copy, and I was interested to see what the lovely people at Bloomsbury had sent me. When I read the blurb, I knew I had to read this book. Now, I am not known for reading many contemporary novels, Something Like Normal in fact being my third of the whole year, but this novel sounded amazing, and I knew that I would like it before I had even read it. And I was right.

Something Like Normal is not a normal book, at all. It’s amazing, and heartbreaking, and beautiful, and all of those wonderful adjectives. There are not enough of those kinds of words to describe this novel. It is unlike anything I have ever read in my life before.

Travis is our main character. He’s a nineteen year old Marine, who has just arrived home after being in Afghanistan for about a year. While he was over there, his best friend was killed, his brother stole his girlfriend, and Travis changed from the kid he used to be.

I love Travis. Doller has a true mastery of words, for every second that I was reading Something Like Normal, it felt as if I was really reading about a nineteen year old Marine coming home. It was so believable, so real. And all the more heartbreaking because I know that there are boys out there like Travis. Real boys, not just fictional ones.

The thoughts in Travis’s mind flip from making you want to cry to making you want to laugh all in about the span of a minute. He thinks about what normal teenage boys think about, and yet he also thinks about seriously profound things, as well. And I think that it is this contrast that makes this book so beautiful. That somewhere underneath all of his layers of pain, Travis is still a normal nineteen year old guy.

Even though we, as readers, are only witness to a few weeks of his life, I feel as if I know Travis better than some characters that I have read about for years. We are privy to his innermost thoughts and feelings, and this exposure allows us to get to know him extremely well in such a short time.

Harper. I have to talk about Harper and Travis’s relationship. It’s perfect in all its imperfection. It’s real, and just so down to earth. I believed every second of their interactions. I especially loved the beach scene. You guys have something to look forward to in that one. Harper wasn’t blinded by Travis’s wit and humour. She knew he was in pain, and she knew he wasn’t perfect, and she accepted him for that. But she wasn’t a pushover. She didn’t let him get away with anything because of what he had been through. She was perfect for him. They were so perfect.

Something Like Normal is not a normal book. It’s profound, and heartbreaking, and uplifting. And I think it will change your life, because it changed mine.

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