The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas

Rating: 7/10



I remember seeing this book floating around the book world of Instagram and thinking, I don’t know what the heck this book is about but I MUST read it! Haha It’s honestly one of my favorite covers that I’ve seen in a book in a while. For those of you who don’t know, I am a total flower lover. One of the purest gifts in life is the beauty of flowers. I definitely read this book based on it’s cover haha I had absolutely no idea what it was about when I picked it up, but the overall plot and title intrigued me. I have to say a big thanks to Pamela Dorman Books for sending me a beautiful hardcover free book. Let’s get on to the plot for this intriguing read.


The Plot:


The setting for this book is New York City. I think!!! Haha


We follow Rose Napolitano as she fights her husband Luke, about whether or not she took her prenatal vitamins. Rose had promised Luke that she would take them regularly, but she didn’t. Before they got married, Luke promised Rose that he never wanted children, but now, he’s changed his mind. Rose, who is a successful professor and academic, has never wanted children and now their marriage rests on one question. Can Rose find it in herself to change her mind, and become a mother? Soon their fight ends and with it, their marriage.


The story starts all over again but with the exact same beginning. Rose and Luke, arguing over the prenatal vitamins. But this time, the fight turns out a little differently, and so does Rose’s future. Can she imagine her life turning out in a completely different way? This reimagining plays out again and again in nine different lives, all with different outcomes and scenarios. What are the consequences of their biggest choices? Rose Napolitano’s experience of choosing different scenarios over and over again shows us what it means to reinvent life and become a different kind of woman than you could ever imagine.


My Review:


What an interesting concept. This book reminded me of that 90s film Sliding Doors, that starred Gwyneth Paltrow. Where you get to see what life would turn out like if you could live the same day but make a different choice and see the different outcomes.


I overall liked the interesting play of the ‘what ifs’ in this book. Rose lives nine different lives, all with very different outcomes. Each of the nine lives all start out the same. With her and Luke, her husband, fighting over her not taking her prenatal vitamins then the story develops from that point on. I do have to say that I was quite confused with which life was which. To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to what the different lives were because it was too confusing to keep up with! Haha but I did understand what I was reading about which was fine in the end. I just don’t think the book needed to be structured in the way that it was. For example each new chapter would start off with, ‘Life 3,4 & 5’ - there was a lot of that as you were reading and I felt it just didn’t need it.


I loved the core subject of the book. The question of motherhood and Rose’s story, who was very adamant about having children and frankly did not have any interest in having them. I think this is a subject matter that a lot of women, especially today and in our current time, will really resonate with. These days more and more women are choosing to not have children and it was quite refreshing to read a book that solely talks about that and deals with this subject matter. I liked that she had all these different lives in which the story plays out completely different to the last ones and the outcomes and weight of what those choices were. It was really fascinating to read about.


The overall story was pretty good. This is definitely a book that really deals with marriage and relationships. So it's very conversational and if you’re the kind of person who likes to read drama type of reads, and to analyze all the nitty gritty details of a relationship then you will like this book. I do have to say, the story itself grew on me as I read on and on. I wasn’t hooked from the beginning at all, but it did grow on me as I read on. It’s a definite slow burning type of read.


The book itself had very short chapters which I liked and makes it easy for you to pick up where you left off. I wouldn’t say that the writing style is the best I’ve ever read. It’s really basic in terms of the way it’s written which made it a little underwhelming at times. I found Rose as a character to be quite unlikeable at times, which is funny because half the time I was actually rooting for her in the book and her thoughts, I did however, very much like other characters in the book a lot more. I hated Luke haha. I also wish the book was shorter than the massive 384 pages that it was. It didn’t need to be this long in my opinion.


I do have to say that if you are a person who is maybe struggling in the relationship you are in, or worried if you’re wasting your time with someone in your relationship, or have always been doubtful of having children, then this would make for an interesting book for you. In the end I found myself enjoying it, but I do feel that this is one of those Hit or Miss reads where people will either like it, or not like it at all. The book definitely has its flaws for sure but I liked the overall message of the book.


The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano is ultimately about identity, motherhood and having the option to not choose motherhood. It’s about marriage, relationships, betrayal, divorce, loss and death, mother and daughter relationships, and finding your own truth and your way to live life on your own terms away from what society tells you to do. I enjoyed the core subject of this book. The book had its flaws, but I ultimately will remember this story for years to come. Highly recommend it for women who have always wondered if motherhood is for them or not. A thought provoking read and perfect for book clubs as well.


Song Pick:


I knew I wanted a song sung by a woman, also wanted it to be an empowering song. When I think of a song about women doing whatever they want to do in life, and staying true to who they are, I think of this absolute banger by Christina Aguilera, or X-Tina as we went by back in the day, 'Can't Hold Us Down'. An absolute tune. Also!! I should add there is another absolutely fantastic song that fits the bill, and it's brilliant! You have to listen to it. It's basically what this read is about hah It's called 'I Don't Want Kids' by Thomas Benjamin. Hilarious song. I love it!


To purchase this read, click the Amazon link below.


Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publication Date: April 6, 2021

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books








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