If Only I Could Tell You

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

5 stars to the writing, story development, pacing
 3 stars to the characters Lily and Jess
So final decision: 4 heart-breaking, tear jerker, emotionally heavy, poignant, memorable, dysfunctional stars!

  As a start trying to read this book and facing with my own skeletons in the closet were the toughest tasks I lately endured. I guess all the women readers had shaken tremendously as soon as they start flipping pages because every one of us are mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, granddaughters and when it comes to connect with the same gender, your emotions always speak louder your rational thoughts. Sometimes you may reject to accept each other’s differences or opinions, perspectives, choices which could cause big dramas, insurmountable, devastating consequences in your lives. So “communication” or “trying your best” to “listen” to the others are our keywords to make peace with your own family.
 
  Beckerman chose a really compelling and challenging subject: a broken, battered relationship between sisters and big secret that can change all the balances in the family. Lily seems like she is having all with her successful career, beautiful daughter and supporting husband. On the other hand, Jess is still struggling in her life, trying to raise her kid by herself and working at demanding TV show as local manager. Two sisters’ opinions, decisions, preferences about life are so different. And now their mother Audrey is dying and her last wish is bringing back her daughters together for reconciling.
 
  But of course: After I read two sisters who haven’t been talking each other for a long time and affecting their own children to alienate with each other made me really pissed off. So many times, I just wanted to buy a megaphone and shouted at their ears with maximum volume: “Stop acting childish and start to use real words to communicate!”

  So many readers mentioned this book as unputdownable, fast pacing, addictive reading. I truly loved the author’s amazing, emotional words cut through my heart and made me bleed. But I have to say this is one of my hardest readings and I was about to put down this book and take too many long breaths to calm myself down. You know the feeling as the walls come tumbling down and all the pieces inside of you start to crumble slowly, that’s what this book made me feel like. 

  Of course it’s hard to write something objective because when you deal too many losses and family dramas in your life, there are two options: you became stressful person who hate everybody or you became sarcastic screenwriter who likes to tease with the hand life dealt for her and restrain your urge to slap all those meaningless, obnoxious fictional characters. So you already what I chose! Yes hating people  
 Sometimes miscarriage, suicide, fatal illness, dysfunctional family issues were like six octopus arms attacking t
  o my neck to suffocate me! I had a powerful urge to throw my kindle against the wall and start to sprint out of the house, meet my husband and my friends at my favorite all you can sushi place and devour them till I suffer from mercury poisoning and drink several sake shots to get rid of the bad mood the book gave me.

  But later I realized I acted immature spoiled brats like these sisters did. So I grabbed my book and resumed reading. After all the teasing part about the real matter, Pandora’s box opened slowly and big revelation punched me in the face. Did I expect this? Partly but this is more intense than what I foresaw. 

  Writing is impeccable, heart wrenching, emotional, poignant, realistic, genuine, resembling Jodi Picoult’s writing style but all those heavy feelings I had to deal and all those ugly cries I had were really exhausting, shaking experience for me.

   Did I like the book? Definitely yes, it is impossible not to admire the writer’s talent and her approach to those pure emotional, sensitive subjects but if you have dysfunctional relationship or suffering from sudden losses, fatal illnesses in your family, prepare yourself to face with those hurt feelings one more time. This book literally can bleed you, make you sob till you get breathless and make you cry till no tears left to spill.

  I know this book recommended by Marian Keyes which is one of my favorite Irish authors which made me remind of rereading “Rachel’s Holiday” and “Anybody Out There” two more times. But I think I’ll do that at least two weeks later because right now I’m one of emotional victims of this author and for recovery I should binge watch “Office” and “It’s always sunny in Philadelphia” episodes over and over again. 

Special thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins Publishers to share this heart wrenching, emotional ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Ok everyone get your tissues! Wow this book drained me emotionally. I sobbed and it's been a few days since I have finished the book and these characters that Hannah so beautifully written are still in my mind. This book was beautiful, the story was one of heartbreak, hope and family! As a mother it was hard to read at times but it was a book I was unable to put down. And after I was done I squeezed my kids a bit more and called my mom.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book. It is a difficult one to read. You will definitely need tissues for this one. I’m not usually a crier, but I was for this one. This book won’t be for everyone and a lot of reviews claimed it was too depressing to read. I didn’t find depressing but more heartbreaking. 

Thank you Netgalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

I’m giving this a 4.5 rating
Was this review helpful?
this book has touched me in a hole different level. I loved her writting, it made the book go really fast, I felt hooked since page 1
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book! My only criticism is I wish the author introduced “the issue” sooner because my mind went in a much darker direction, especially after learning about Audrey’s husband. It was almost too much to believe that Audrey, Jess and Lily each kept their version of the secret for so many years but it was interesting to see how it all played out and it ended well. Many thanks to Harper Collins and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Families aren’t perfect and If Only I Could Tell You is about a family dealing with some serious dysfunction and sadness. Jess and Lily are sisters who have been estranged for many years. Now, adults, they each live in London and have daughters close in age...but without a relationship. Somehow, their mother, Audrey, has managed to keep up relationships separately with both daughters and their families. As the book opens, Audrey is trying to figure out a way to get the daughters to reconcile.
The family and personal history gradually unfolds through flashbacks and memories from all three of the main characters. I especially liked how the author captured the relationship between Audrey and her two granddaughters. They came across, to me, as the most genuine relationships.
Each of the main characters had serious challenges in their own personal lives (in addition to the separation) and I felt this was not explored as fully as it could have been for stronger character development. It was a 3.5-4 star book for me, but there were so many heavy themes in this book: unfulfilled dreams, cancer, graphic descriptions of dying and miscarriages, suicide, unhappy relationships, etc. that it left me totally drained.
Thanks to Netgalley and Harpers Collins Publishers for the opportunity to read If Only I Could Tell You!
Was this review helpful?
Audrey is dying and she wants nothing more than to see her daughters Jess and Lily, and their daughters Mia and Phoebe, united. Jess and Lily have not spoken in years; there is a dark secret which fractured their relationship when they were teens.  Jess is beyond angry at Lily and while you might think you know why, it came as a surprise to me.  Audrey has refused treatment but she spends times with Phoebe and Mia, finding joy from a choir and art classes.  The back story spools out slowly in flashbacks and will keep you guessing.  It's a good read, with sympathetic characters even as you know someone has done something wrong.  You have to wonder how these women's lives would have been different if they were honest with each other all those years ago.  Know that there's a real air of melancholy over this but it is positive in the end.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.  Well written by a good storyteller.
Was this review helpful?
In this book there were a lot of secrets. It definitely kept me on my toes with what was going on. For the first third of this book, I felt pretty confused about who was who and what was going on that had pulled the sisters apart.  When they introduce the main conflict and what was behind the bedroom door, I was shocked. It almost felt like a suspense book since there are so many different sides to the story and everything is only revealed near the end of the book.

The conflict of this story centers around each person trying to protect one or more of the other characters but because of this, multiple misunderstandings occur which ultimately break the family apart. I think that everyone had their reasons for what they did and I don't really blame any of them for making the choices they did.  They all thought they were doing what was best.

All and all, this book was incredibly sad. Audrey has cancer and doesn't seem to be getting better and her daughters are estranged for reasons Audrey doesn't know. The relationship between Audrey and her granddaughters was what touched me the most.
Was this review helpful?
This novel would be a very interesting book club discussion. It was very sad and poignant. poignant. Although I could not relate to the sisters, I thought the portrayal of the granddaughters very heartwarming. The mother's decades long secret threatens the family she tried hard to protect. This is an intensive read and the author presents a perspective of many difficult topics.
Was this review helpful?
This book was an emotional rollercoaster. I read it in two sittings and stayed up half the night to finish it. It is a work of art and a powerful book.
Was this review helpful?
Sister are...hard. I have four of my own and every one of the relationships I have is different. The sisters in If Only I Could Tell You have a relationship that is full of guilt, pain and hurt. This is a book that explores that darker side of relationships - don't let the cover fool you. 

It's just...so sad. 

Thanks to netGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Was this review helpful?
If you could only see my eyes this morning, you would know just how great this book is. I had to stay up to finish it into the wee hours. Things were finally unfolding and I could not put it down.

I have to say that through a lot of the book, I felt this strange dread. Jess was a hard nut to crack. Her anger was palpable.  We know as we read along that something devastating has happened to this family. Jess won’t talk at all to her sister Lily. Poor Audrey, their mother, wants nothing more than to see her daughters as close as sisters should be. She wants her granddaughters to know each other. Lily and Jess have been sitting on secrets for so very long. Once those secrets are revealed, my heart broke.

This is such a wonderful book. It is sad and yet redeeming. It is an emotional roller coaster. I am not a roller coaster fan but I buckled into this ride and I am so very glad I did. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Beckerman. I know I won’t be disappointed.

Thanks to Netgalley and William Morrow for a copy of this wonderful book. It is my humble opinion but I am pretty sure it will be yours too.
Was this review helpful?
A surprisingly emotion read, I wasn't expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. Perhaps enjoy is not the right word since the book is emotionally heavy, but I am so glad for the experience.
Was this review helpful?
If Only I Could Tell You is not a light read - there is a lot of depressing subject matter - suicide, cancer, miscarriage, and broken family relationships.  The premise is built upon a family secret that causes two sisters to be estranged, but no one seems to know the exact cause of the rift. 

This book frustrated me - it took a long time to get to the "reveal" and it was all a huge misunderstanding that could have been avoided if everyone had talked decades ago. The way that Jess handled the situation annoyed me. She seemed to blow up whenever anyone even mentioned her sister, so it was tough to feel bad for her.

I was surprised by many of the twists in the story, and it kept me reading. However, the pace of the novel bored me a bit, and I just wanted to know what the big secret was.  The last 3/4 of the book was the most enthralling, but even then I was anxious to finish it.

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins for the advanced review copy of If Only I Could Tell You!
Was this review helpful?
So, I got in bed at 8pm last night, and planned to read for a few minutes, then go to sleep around 9.  Instead, I finished this book last night, and I feel like I have a reading hangover (that or I stayed up too late).  This is the kind of book that will stick with you.

All Audrey Siskin wants her daughters, Lily and Jess, to do is reunite after a 28 year estrangement.  However, the secrets that divide them run so deep that the thought is impossible for Jess to comprehend.  What makes this story of a family divided on another level is Hannah Beckerman’s writing.  She continues to give information about the various storylines in the book, and then neatly ties them all up within the last 50 pages in a way that leaves you sobbing.  Beckerman masterfully jumps between the past and the present in a way that seamlessly supports the plot lines, which can be so hard to do.  Keep your tissues handy when you read this.  It’s released on October 15th.

Suicide, miscarriage, and cancer are all discussed at great length and detail.

Synopsis:
Audrey’s dream as a mother had been for her daughters, Jess and Lily, to be as close as only sisters can be. But now, as adults, they no longer speak to each other, and Audrey’s two teenage granddaughters have never met. Audrey just can’t help feeling like she’s been dealt more than her fair share as she’s watched her family come undone over the years, and she has no idea how to fix her family as she wonders if they will ever be whole again.
If only Audrey had known three decades ago that a secret could have the power to split her family in two, and yet, also keep them linked. And when hostilities threaten to spiral out of control, a devastating choice that was made so many years ago is about to be revealed, testing this family once and for all.
Once the truth is revealed, will it be enough to put her family back together again or break them apart forever?

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins for an advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately, this book was a miss for me.  I did not follow the story line.  I found my wondering through the entirety of the book
Was this review helpful?
I was immediately drawn into this book at the prologue. It takes place in 1988, two sisters witness something, and each believes they know what truly happened. The secrets they now keep will rip their family apart. 

•Audrey Siskin only has months to live. What grieves her most is that her two daughters, Lily and Jess, have been estranged for nearly 28 years. Her granddaughters have also been kept apart because of their mothers’ feud. Audrey doesn’t understand why Jess has such a hatred for her older sister Lily. Jess can’t even stand to be in the same room as her. 

•It all started back in 1988. Jess was so young, only 10, yet they all went through so much together. So why does she hate Lily? Even Lily doesn’t understand. Ever since, the sisters have been living on opposite sides of their mother, with Audrey trying to hold onto a relationship with each daughter. But now her life is about to end; can she bring her daughters back together?

•This book is sad, to say the least. At first, it’s very intriguing, with the tease of the prologue. You really want to know what took place. What did they see or even do? But then for quite a few chapters the collateral damage of the secret is played out in their lives. You see how Jess’ hatred continues to grow against Lily and Lily struggles to find peace in life. There are subtle clues of what was seen or heard that day, and then there is more heartbreak in the family that may lead you down another line of thinking. If only I could tell you a few more details, but I don’t want to spoil anything for you.

•If you love family drama, heartache, and secrets, you will enjoy this book. Beckerman does string you along for a while, and I was a little frustrated at times, but she brought it home very well. 

**Please be aware that this book does discuss terminal illness, miscarriages, and suicide.
 
Thank you to @netgalley and @orionbooks for this ARC for review.
Was this review helpful?
How much would you endure to protect someone that you love? That is the question at the heart of this novel, If Only I Could Tell You.  Adult sisters Jess and Lily have been estranged for decades by Jess’ choice, but now their mother Audrey has only been given months to live.  Although this doesn’t change Jess’ mind, it sets events in motion that will change the entire family dynamic.  As the adult sisters navigate their daily lives in modern times, we are given snippets of their lives growing up.  As the deep dark secret of the family is revealed, it will become clear that nothing is what it seemed.  The book asks you to consider the cost of keeping the secrets of others.  This would be a great book club read!
Was this review helpful?
This book is heartbreaking! Truthfully, it was a tad bit depressing. It covers too many serious topics and doesn’t tack on any hopefulness to string the reader along. It was just sad, sad, SAD! This family drama moved along nicely but I found a couple of the characters very unlikable, so I had a hard time connecting to it. I’ve even been through some of the topics explored and found myself not connecting, which I found strange. It was ok but a bit too sad and overdramatic for me. Thanks to the publisher for the review copy in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
It's been thirty years since sisters, Lily and Jess, have spoken. They have 18 year old daughters who are just weeks apart that have never met, they have had successful careers, the ups and downs of marriage, and they have missed it all. Their mother, Audrey, is heartbroken over the distance that has grown between her daughters but hasn't wanted to face the events that happened thirty years ago any more than her daughters have. Now that she is nearing the end of her life she wants nothing more than to reunite her daughters and find out what pushed them apart in the first place.

I enjoyed this book and the slow buildup and reveal of what happened to drive the sisters apart. It is revealed very, very slowly and I was somewhat frustrated that  having a simple conversation could have solved their problems years ago. There are some sensitive topics in this book that I won't list because I don't want to give any spoilers but if you are a highly sensitive person, tread lightly. Overall, I really enjoyed the characters, the story, I liked the two teenage granddaughters, I liked how the book switches perspectives, and I enjoyed the story as a whole. The ending made me think about what I would do and although I don't agree with the choices, it helped me think about the other perspective.
Was this review helpful?