Melissa was always happy on her own, she never needed a man to feel complete. Maybe this was due to her father who was everything but a good husband and when her mother had finally left him, things got a lot better. But now she is with Michael and with their two kids they moved into a new house. She already had a bad feeling when she first visited it. Somehow she feels haunted in there and it is obvious that the kids are getting ill and that their relationship is slowly breaking apart. Their friends Damian and Stephanie are troubled, too, Damian is convinced that he is not leading the life he wants to lead whereas his wife is in constant fear of not being the perfect mother. Should all of them maybe just leave London which also seems to become a constant threat?
Diana Evans wrote a novel about “Ordinary People”, people who are caught between the dreams they once had – leading an independent life, having a career, writing a novel, enjoying themselves – and the reality which is full of demands and everyday nuisances that keep them from doing what they would like to do. Apart from daydreaming about the lives they could have, they start questioning if they have chosen the right partner for them. They don’t even know anymore what is more annoying: daily routines or the person next to them.
While Melissa sees more and more ghosts who have a negative influence on her family, Michael turns to his attractive colleague. Stephanie becomes more and more severe in her manners and Damian phantasises about Melissa. None of these options is a way out of their dilemma and when they spend the holidays together and get a closer look at the other couple’s struggles, they realise that they are not alone with their thoughts and fears.
I really liked the author’s way of describing how the characters feel, for example, their not wanting to grow up and consider themselves serious and responsible adults:
They were insisting on their youth. They were carrying it with both hands.
They feel somehow outside themselves in their lives and at some point, even their meant to be significant other cannot make them feel complete since they just don’t understand each other anymore. But, Diana Evans is not too pessimistic, there is some hope:
Sometimes, in the lives of ordinary people, there is a great halt, a revelation, a moment of change. It occurs under low metal skies, never when one is happy.
There will be better times and the sun will also shine again for you. A wonderful novel about most ordinary people and their ordinary lives.