The Paper Palace

I am not sure the last time I got so many DMs about a book, just from showing it a few slides on my Instagram story. This book is divisive!!! It is also very dark. I read it as it came recommended by so many of you (and also my mom). My mom really liked it but warned me that her book club did not like it. I think that my mom and I enjoyed it for the same reasons: the depiction of Cape Cod (specifically the Outer Cape) is spot on, and the writing is flawlessly good. It sparked so many memories for me – especially because when I was a child we would rent a cabin on the marsh in Truro for a week most summers. The book opens on a balmy summer night. Elle Bishop has just cheated on her husband Peter with her childhood best friend and first love, Jonah. It then proceeds to alternate back and forth over fifty years (the past) and 24 hours (the present), helping us to understand how Elle got here. It’s a love story (sort of), it’s beautifully written (I would classify this as literary fiction), but as I mentioned, it is dark. There are content warnings for a lot of things: sexual abuse, infidelity, miscarriage, death of a sibling, suicide, I could go on. The sexual assault scenes are particularly hard to read. I did not care for the main character, but the trauma she endured made her more sympathetic. I also felt like a lot of the characters (especially the older ones) felt very familiar to me. Hours after reading the book I still can’t really say what I think about the ending. Anything that has infidelity in it (not a spoiler, this happens right at the beginning) tends to upset me a little bit, but I think (I may change my opinion on this!), that I liked how it ended. This book is a conversation starter for sure. I think it would make a really excellent book club pick as there would be a lot to talk about. Order on or Amazon.