And We're Off
Book Review - And We're Off by Dana Schwartz
And We're Off by Dana Schwartz is about Nora and her mom Alice. Nora is scheduled to go on a trip across Europe, funded by her grandfather, to study art. When Alice drops Nora off at the airport, she decides (seemingly last minute) to join her daughter. I first heard this book described as Gilmore Girls with more art history by Book of the Month Club, and that description did not disappoint! Since this book focuses on the mother/daughter relationship, I thought I'd interview my mom about what she thought of the book (we both read it on our family trip to Cabo last week...visit Facebook for more photos!)
Ashley: I’m most curious about what you thought of the daughter. Did she remind you of me in any way? Did you like her?
Terri: Nora did not remind me of you, you always had a lot of respect for the adults in your life, however, I do feel you may have went through this time of your life internally. :) I did like Nora, when she wasn’t resorting to antics to share her feelings.
Ashley: Who did you resonate more with? The mother or the daughter?
Terri: The mom! Her pain was obvious and that she wanted to be with her daughter was something I probably would want, and all her daughter wanted to do is ditch her. Insensitive!
Ashley: Hahaha. I resonated more with the daughter. She had been looking forward to this coming-of-age trip planned by her grandfather but the mother hijacked it and made it her own trip. I guess they were both insensitive. Can we agree on that?
Terri: Of course, yes, I see that the mom was insensitive, too. I bet we can both agree that the grandfather was awesome! Not just as a premier artist, but as a loving grandparent.
Terri: Do you think mom should have been upfront about losing her job?
Ashley: I definitely agree that the grandfather was awesome. I would love to go on that trip and complete his assignments (not that I am an artist!) Your question about whether the mom should have been upfront about losing her job is a tricky one. On one hand I can see why the mom wouldn’t want to burden Nora with the stress of losing her job. But on the other hand, the mom wasn’t honest with Nora and Nora was picking up on that, which was contributing to the strain in their relationship. What do you think you would have done?
Terri: I would have told you, I think, because I couldn’t keep up with the stress of it. You would have seen through those shallow comments the mom made instantly but with Nora wanting to be on her own, I think she wasn’t looking for the true answer to why her mom came with her. You’ve been to Belgium, what did you think of it? Be honest, now!
Ashley: Hahaha! I spent one day in Belgium and I thought that was plenty. ;-) To be fair, it was an overcast, rainy day and I hadn’t done much research about the area before I arrived. Nora wasn’t kidding when she said there were chocolate shops on every corner. That part of the book cracked me up. I did try a Belgian Waffle while I was there and it was delicious. I might go back to Belgium just for a waffle.
Terri: It cracked me up, too! I still want to go there and eat a waffle with you.
Terri: What did you think about crashing the wedding?
Ashley: Omg - that part totally made me think of you. That’s the one time the mom loosened up a bit. I stopped thinking she was so annoying and started to like her a bit. I could see you crashing a wedding for me so that I could see a work of art.
Terri: I started liking her then, too! I knew she had it in her, she studied in Paris in college, something that just blows my mind, and you just know she did crazy things!
Ashley: I actually thought when she was trying to find the coffee shop in Paris that she was going to tell her daughter she’d had a relationship with the owner. I was hoping she’d have a wild past.
Terri: Yes, me, too, and I think the author might have dropped the ball on that detail. I am still a little lost as to why she went looking for the shop so intently. I felt sure we were going to learn that it was Nora’s dad.
Ashley: I thought the same thing!! I thought the author spent a lot of time on that part for it not to have meant anything and for nothing to develop from it. Do you think the author anticipates a sequel to this book that focuses more on the mom and her past?
Terri: Hmmm. This book was written for teens, right? Maybe that book could be more for adults! However, she was a teen herself when all that happened, so maybe another teen book! I would like to see a second book about Maeve.
Ashley: Maeve was the young gifted artist, the daughter of the couple who ran the art school in Ireland. I have to ask you about Callum. What would you have said if I told you I wanted to go on a date with an Irish boy while I was attending school in Ireland? Did you like his character?
Terri: That’s a hard one. I would talk to you about the pitfalls of dating and possibly falling in love with someone with such a different background, but in the long run, it would be your decision. I liked Callum, he would be another I would like to read more about.
Ashley: Okay, final question. How many stars would you give this book? And why?
Terri: I’d give it a 4 star rating. I loved the mission with the grandfather but the angst between mom and daughter (with all the foul language) was a bit much. It did inspire me to want to visit Belgium and Ireland, though!
Ashley: Does that mean you’re taking me on a mother/daughter trip across Europe?
Terri: Yes, and we will plan it together so that I won’t have to crash your trip!
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