Relationship novels are not typically my thing but I truly enjoyed this one. It has beautiful language, mostly well-drawn characters and just enough interest in what will happen next to make one want to keep reading even though not that much ever really happens. Of course I pretty much hated Charity at the end, but I really think we are supposed to. She has spent a lifetime running everything and always getting her way, of course she will be the one to decide how she dies even if it means leaving Sid out of it. You are left wondering if he truly will be able to go on. I wish Sally were a little more fleshed-out as a character. Before the polio, she’s primarily the fun but overshadowed friend. Afterward she is the long-suffering but still faithful-to-the-end friend.
Additionally I wanted to see each of them grow just a little bit out of the roles they established early in the relationship. But none of them really ever did. Charity was the ringleader, Sally was the devoted friend and wife, Sid was the rich provider who can’t ever quite satisfy his wife’s ambitions and Larry was the faithful and supportive workaholic. They were all just about the same at the end as they were all along, and I guess that’s my main complaint. Their relationships were maintained throughout the years despite their various hardships and physical distance, but they never really evolved. You think in that last scene in Charity’s bedroom, something will change, someone will break the mold and do something different, but it doesn’t happen. So I was unsatisfied with the end even though I enjoyed the whole very much.