Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Literally the Best Reviews: Oona Out of Order

 Oona Out of Order - Margarita Montimore

Flatiron Books

352 Pages

Last week, I reviewed what I considered one of the best books I’ve read this year. This week, I review one of the most interesting books I’ve read this year. Again, it ranks among some of the best I’ve read in 2020. Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore is another of the highly recommended books that I’ve read.

If you’ve read The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, you think you might have the gist of this story. You would only be partly correct. If you take that concept and turn it on its head, then you start to understand a bit of what is going on in this novel. 

The novel begins on New Year’s Eve 1982 as Oona Lockhart prepares to celebrate her nineteenth birthday as the clock switches to 1983. One moment she is still a teenage girl with the rest of her life in front of her. The next moment, thirty-two years have passed in an instant. She still has the mind of her teenage self, but now with the life of a fifty-one year old woman. Greeted by a young stranger, she learns that each year on her birthday, she will jump to a random year in her life. 

What follows next is a series of jumps in Oona’s life. She slowly starts to piece her lost years together, while overcoming the urge to revolt against her more mature self’s notes, recommendations and admonitions. It takes years of jumping before her life story starts to become clearer. Throughout all her lives, she learns to live in the moment. She never knows what the next day will bring.

This novel was a very fun book to read. How would Oona react with each jump to various years in her life? Would her young mind be able to comprehend the way of life for her much older self? Would her mature mind still recognize the exuberance of her youth? Trying to reconcile the changes between these dynamics is what draws the reader in and propels the narrative.

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore was a fun book to read. The whole book is a case study in character development and the human condition. The story of Oona’s life, in fits and starts, explores how we grow as people as we gain age and experience. However, in this book, we get a closer look at this process while Oona struggles with each new experience after her jumps. All the jumping made Oona cranky and unlikeable. At least at first.

With each part of the story uncovered, the sympathy for Oona grows. The importance of gaining experience and growing as a person is highlighted. Oona’s growth is stunted by the non-sequential passages of her years. Struggling with her relative youth through these changes makes her ornery and somewhat unlikeable. Once readers realize this is part of Oona’s growth, they will enjoy this story even more.

Oona Out of Order is the first book by Margarita Montimore that I’ve read. After looking her up upon completion of this book, I found that she wrote one other book, Asleep from Day. I will be looking for this book to add to my reading list. I enjoyed this book immensely. If you’re a fan of The Time Traveller’s Wife give this book a shot.

Craig Bacon says that time travel is a superpower. It is one of the superpowers he wants. The rest of the list is mundane in comparison.