See What Flowers by Shannon Mullen

Actual Rating: 4


*Thank you to the author for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.*

Firstly, I really like this cover – it accurately portrays an atmosphere of nostalgia and loneliness, and I think it fits the story so well. With that said, one thing I loved about this book was was how it approached mental illness: subtly and quietly, as it creeped up on you without warning.

The first page of See What Flower begins after Adam’s disappearance. It was one day after Emma’s 30th birthday party, and what should have been the happiest day of her life quickly became the most confusing. Emma is shocked that something like this could have happened, especially from someone who had always been the most honest, the most organized, and the most careful. But although love is powerful, so is mental illness.

One thing I noticed about this book was that it was very character-centric because it follows both Adam and Emma’s perspectives. It was very interesting to see the world from different points of view. I especially like the careful balance between domestic scenes and moments that actually contributed a lot to the plot; this equilibrium made everything seem much more realistic.

The writing style allowed us to get into the minds of both these characters,and with that I could imagine a very interesting relationship dynamic between two people who each had their own struggles; however, I wish that I could have seen more of actual interactions between Emma and Adam as I felt like I understood their individual struggles very strongly but didn’t see enough of how they seemed to be (or could have been) together.

The story was also written in three parts, not in chronological order. I actually really enjoyed this writing style because it invoked curiosity from the very beginning, and it was very satisfying to finally have my questions answered. The ending was heart-wrenching – but not for the reason that I’d have expected it to be. In my opinion the ending is also a bit open-ended but by then the character development was evident and eye-opening.

Overall I would recommend this book to contemporary readers, especially to anyone interested in reading about mental illness. See What Flowers was a beautiful story about losing and finding yourself, and I think it’s a book lots of people could learned something from.

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