Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Oona Out of Order

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore (2020)

It's New Year's Eve and when the clock strikes midnight, it will be 1983 and Oona will be 19 years old. Except that's not what happens. Instead, it's 2015 and she's 51 years old. She is with her personal assistant, Kenzie, who explains everything to her. Each year when it becomes midnight on New Year's Eve she leaps to a different year of her life. Of course she's never met this man before and doesn't believe that this mansion is her house, and she flees. But soon she realizes that it really is 2015 and her life makes no sense anymore.

This all sounded very gimmicky, but I assure you it's actually a great story! When Oona leaves 1982 she was on the precipice of making a major decision about her life. Go to London for school, or stay in New York with her boyfriend Dale and tour with their band. She has no idea what is the right decision and now that decision is delayed. I mean, she made it back in early 1983 but she hasn't experienced that year for herself yet. She sometimes writes notes to herself on New Year's Eve so the following morning, whichever Oona is inhabiting her body will have some guidance for that year or clues about who she is with at the time. It can get very complicated. I cannot understand time travel and there were times I was figuratively scratching my head but I think it all makes sense.

Living life with no continuity means that it's extremely difficult to maintain friendships and relationships. Her mother Madeleine is a constant, and she and Kenzie are the only two people who know the truth about what happens with Oona. It can be a lonely existance in many ways. But it's also a great lesson in living in the moment and not worrying too much about the consequences of your decisions or what is going to come next. Oona really needs to roll with it. There are some perks. If a person dies, she'll probably still see them again. And youth isn't wasted on her because she has been much older and knows to appreciate being young. It was fascinating to experience this and learn these lessons along with Oona.

If anything, I wanted more. This isn't a long book so we can only get so many years. It jumped around, obviously, but there were some years that were near other years we read about, which filled in the blanks on some of the storylines and kept the whole thing feeling more like a story rather than a series of vignettes. It was a pretty quick, light read even though it tackled some serious themes. It was a whole lot of fun and very satisfying!

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