4 out of 4 stars
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Dreamy, unrealistic, and superficial fairytales seem to be getting farther and farther away from the average reader—that’s certainly fine with me. I enjoy reading about characters who have “real-life” problems, bumps in the road, and events most of us deal with during our own day-to-day activities. In Geraldine. by Edmund M. Aristone, the characters are relatable; they have jobs, family woes, losses, medical diagnoses, and manage all of these on top of living situations, friendships, and basic life events.
Tom’s relationship hasn’t been going well, leading to an amicable break-up. His job situation isn’t great either—he’s been suspended from the medical program until the suspension is lifted. The loss of Tom’s mother, his absent-type father, and some friends with questionable decision-making skills all have helped him become a humble guy. He’s quite privileged and has the world at his fingertips, though it’s not something he flaunts or boasts. Tom is a universally astute, philosophical, and practical gentleman. Though he may not express some of his thoughts in the best way, his genuine intentions shine brightly. He meets an artist, Geraldine, who is struggling with mental illness, but also has a beautiful soul, and is intelligent, deductive, and caring. Theirs is an instant connection. He describes her as having a stunning appearance that matches how he sees her deeper personality and sense of self.
I wouldn’t necessarily consider Geraldine. a romance novel, but I would consider it a novel about the inner workings of various relationships. However, I suppose “romance” could be a relative term. The main characters meet through a mutual friend. They are immediately up front with one another about their values, experiences, and struggles. Mental health, loss, difficult family dynamics, and quirky friendships, are all examples of the day to day lives of the main characters.
I enjoyed the open discussion on some taboo topics including abortion, how loss affects us, and openness to being in tune with the universe. I enjoyed the approach of expressing Tom’s inner dialogue and thoughtful processing of any situation. He remains calm and level-headed, even in intense situations. He anticipates Geraldine’s mannerisms in regards to her mental illness and overall perspective of life. She, meanwhile, appreciates Tom’s thoughtfulness and understanding of things she doesn’t typically care to pay attention to. They are a good balance. I also enjoyed the foreshadowing through Tom’s point of view. The dramatic events that occur seem to be something he predicts—but maybe that’s how the universe works for those who are attuned to it…
Some things I did not enjoy included how Tom considered himself the most “normal” of all the characters in the book—he seemed to have a slight superiority complex when it came to anyone but himself, especially Geraldine’s friends. I did not enjoy how Tom takes control of Geraldine’s medications and healthcare—he may have a medical background, but cannot consider himself a doctor. He takes a lot of leeway with this in several instances, and while it may work out sometimes, it is not appropriate to have such control over another’s well-being without their full knowledge. He tends to ignore, sugar coat, and carry the weight of heavy situations to avoid others being harmed—not the best coping skill.
Those who do not like topics of abortion, sudden death, aneurysms, suicide, or mental health issues would likely not enjoy this book. Readers who like a bit of drama, romance, suburban adventures, and relationship building would enjoy this book. Overall I would give Geraldine. a 4 out of 4. rating. It is well written, interesting, and certainly a good read.
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