A quick rundown… Harrison Hanafan slips on a New York street, coming into contact with Mimi who is going to change everything over a chaotic year.
Strengths: Complete roller coaster of emotions – this novel is feelings in book format
Weaknesses: Some of the appendix wasn’t as exciting as the rest of the book
Why I read it: Sent to me by Bloomsbury Sydney – thank you!
Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus
Setting: America and England
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
I’ve never read a book by Lucy Ellmann prior to Mimi, and man, do I feel bad about it! If Mimi is anything to go by, Ellmann writes with so much emotion that I’m sure copies dance around the shelves on their own! This book is chock-a-block bursting with feelings – all feelings ranging from ecstatically, insanely happy to the shattered emptiness of loss. Mimi moved me to the point where I was starting to reflect the protagonist (Harrison Hanafan) in his feelings.
Harrison is a plastic surgeon, but different to any of the stereotypes you may link with his profession. He’s the type of man who feels everything that’s going on – a sensitive soul. He doesn’t particularly like the shallow nature of his job, but he’s the type of person to rescue a stray cat on a snowy street and take it home. He loves cartoons, music and has a Melancholy List of things that make him feel that way. Perhaps a little eccentric, but truly a nice guy.
On Christmas Eve, Harrison trips and starts sliding down the icy street. His fall is broken by a woman who picks him up and puts him in a taxi. That woman is Mimi and over the year that follows, they will meet again as life takes them on impossible journeys from love to loss and passion.
Passion is a good word to describe Mimi. Ellmann writes wholeheartedly and it’s also clear that she has done a lot of research. There must have also been a lot of planning involved in taking Harrison to the extreme emotions and situations. I certainly didn’t foresee the contents of the speech he makes to his former high school! I liked the way that Harrison was a whole person, not just his job – his love of music, fear of public speaking and completely susceptible to falling in love.
The book also covers some serious topics – incest, murder and feminism. Feminism tends to creep up and then take over the last part of the book. There’s a whole section in the appendix (how cool that a fiction book has an appendix!) covering Harrison’s thoughts on this matter. His ideas were a little too out there for me in places, but I enjoyed his passion for the subject.
Overall, I adored the way this book took me on a ride of feelings as crazy as any roller coaster. I’d definitely read more from Lucy Ellmann!