Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review: Magnified World by Grace O'Connell

Publisher: Random House Canada
Pages: 352
Received: Received from Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: May 29, 2012
Buy From Amazon.ca / Buy From Chapters.ca

Goodreads Synopsis:

A beautiful New Face of Fiction debut from a stunningly gifted young novelist about what it means to be a daughter, a patient, a lover and a human being who can carry on after a massive loss.

What's a girl supposed to do after her mother kills herself by walking into the Don River with her pockets full of unpolished zircon stones? Maggie removes the zircon stones from the inventory of the family's New Age shop and opens up for another day of business. Then her blackouts begin, as do the visits from a mysterious customer who offers help for Maggie's blackouts and her project of investigating her mother's past in the American South. Is Maggie breaking down in the way her mother did, or is her "madness" a distinctive show of grief? Nobody really knows, not her father, her boyfriend or her psychiatrist, and especially not Maggie, who has to make some crazy decisions in order to work to feel sane again. A vivid look at the various confusions that can set in after a trauma and an insightful, gently funny portrait of a woman in her early twenties, especially relatable to readers who grew up in the eighties and nineties, Magnified World dramatizes the battle between the head and the heart and the limitations of both in unlocking something as complicated as loss.

My Review:

This book caught my attention right away with the synopsis, and being a Canadian book (I can't get enough of them!). I will admit it took me some time to get into the book, I was confused with the pacing of the writing, but as I kept going, I'm glad I did, I fell in love with this book! The one thing that I found hilarious was everyone Maggie encounters seems to be writing a book about something. I also really enjoyed that this book was set in Toronto, I loved following Maggie around on her adventures and knowing where she was. 

Maggie was a very interesting character, and I really enjoyed seeing everything from her point of view. Dealing with the loss of a family member is definitely heart breaking, and slowly we see how Maggie felt about her mother and how close her connection really was. You really get to see the family dynamic through Maggie's eyes, by going back through her journal entries. I really enjoyed that the journal was such an integral part of the book. 

I really enjoyed that this had an interesting aspect of mystery to it. You follow the book trying to find out about Maggie's mother and what her life was like. I was completely surprised when I found out some things near the end of the book. I wanted to know more about Maggie's life and I was enthralled by all the characters that she runs into throughout the book. Gil being the most interesting character for me.

There was something about Gil that kept me wondering, and kept me going to find out more about him. Who was this character that showed up at the most interesting times of the book. Trust me when I say, when you find out who this character is, it definitely throws you! I was shocked and yet at the same time I saw something like this coming.

This book is funny at times and yet definitely still heartwrenching with everything Maggie goes through. This is a book about her journey through loss and her grief and how she comes out in the end. I could relate to a lot of what Maggie went through wondering what would cause someone to kill themselves like that. Maggie's story is an interesting one. This is definitely a new author that should be watched in the future because I believe she will come out with more stories that will keep you glued to the pages!


  1. This sounds different from a lot of books I've read lately. I love when books can surprise me the whole way through. This looks really good.

  2. Oooh, I've been interested to check this book out as well! Glad to see another strong, new Canadian talent writing about Toronto—I've always been interested in the idea of literary geography, and since we're based out of Toronto, we have an advantage when it comes to exploring the city. Looks like I'll have to check out this title for myself!

  3. I finished it tonight. I liked it but I found it confusing. Who is Gil? Please send me an email and let me know (teenaintoronto@yahoo.ca).




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