THE UNFORTUNATES, by Sophie McMannus is a novel I’ve been hearing good chatter about. I actually picked up a copy at my local library. Extreme riches does not always mean happiness and health.
Who is Cecilia Somner? And why is she having a get-together on a yacht when she can barely walk? We know straight away that she is has recently been diagnosed with a debilitating illness. But she’s keeping it from friends. We soon discover she’s about to begin treatment with a “new” drug through a trial that will take her away from her family and friends.
George Somner is CeCe’s much fawned-over son. He’s recently married a woman CeCe deems far beneath them all. Poor Iris, her only fault is that she was a bartender from the other side of the tracks. How is CeCe’s fortune going to be safe? But Iris truly loves George, and has no idea what she’s gotten herself into. Troubles are on the radar. They slowly begin rising to the surface causing all their lives to unravel in front of their faces.
Mental illness is a cruel disease in and of itself. But when the bearer of the disease is coddled and kept from the responsibility of his life, it then becomes a rampant ruination running amok and killing everything in its path.
It’s hard to believe this is McMannus’s first novel. She gets inside the heads of her characters to the point of tedium. There were times when thoughts were swirling in dreams inside CeCe’s head when I had to pause and look away. But the words told the story of CeCe’s tortured life, and, so they were brilliantly introduced.
I did not like the characters in the beginning of the story. In fact, even Iris was annoying. About halfway through the novel I began to sense a change. I started understanding why CeCe seemed like such a mean old bitch. I finally understood that George could not help who he was. And Iris began to show her true colors. The changes showed up gradually. But made all the difference in the world.
Most of us mere mortals can not conceive of the wealth affecting this entitled family. It shows the depths and heights of wealth and poverty. The American dream, and then some. Is it a curse to be this rich? After all, money can’t always buy happiness, and definitely can not buy life.
Sophie McMannus is certainly an author to watch. She does contemporary fiction like nobody’s business!