About the Book:
A remarkably inventive novel that explores what it means to live a life fully in the moment, even if those moments are out of order.
It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order…
Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met? Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.
“Hiraeth: homesickness for something that never was and never could be.”
What an incredibly touching, inventive and magical novel! This book was just I was looking for: a touch of fantasy, a brilliant plot, and characters that I loved. I had this on my TBR all year and when I saw it was on sale, I grabbed it! And I am just coming up for air.
Yes you must suspend a little disbelief but the story is so fast-paced and unpredictable that it exceeded all my expectations. Oona finds herself transported at random to different years in her life, beginning when she is 19 years old. Every jump takes place just before New Year’s Day, and Oona learns the hard way to write letters to herself to explain the important people and events in her life. Because she moves about randomly, she is still 19 years old during her jumps even though she might be in a much older calendar year in her life.
Only a small group knows the truth about Oona. (And yes I found myself actually taking notes
to keep track of what year Oona jumped to!) I loved the memories of New York in the 80s and of popular culture and clothing from the past few decades. One of the most jarring jumps for Oona was she awoke in her 51 year old self.
“The mirror exposed time’s passage, yes, but eclipsed her heart’s true mileage. The lined face, the extra pounds, the hair chemically treated to hide its gray. Each year the body was hers, but her mind was out of sync with her reflection. Always playing catch-up, trying to rearrange the scrambled pieces of her life.”
The letters Oona writes herself help her navigate her relationships, for better or worse. Oona is careful not change the past, because as she learns, life is to be experienced and savored. Not surprisingly, Oona becomes a very wealthy woman due to the detailed financial notebooks she keeps for her younger selves.
There are a few minor plot holes but the sheer imaginative scope of this novel outweighed these very minor flaws. Reading about an Oona whose calendar year age is 27 but who is just 19 inside was disorienting but made me feel how Oona must have felt! Yes she makes some very reckless decisions which seemed out of touch for the adult Oona, but which made perfect sense for someone who was really still in their teens.
“Stop micromanaging your life and just live it; joy and meaning will follow. Find the happy medium between being daring and responsible. Cultivate that balance. Do your best. Be good to yourself, even when—especially when—life isn’t being good to you.”
Not every year of Oona’s travels are good ones. She experiences heartbreak and pain along with incredible highs. But as she learns to accept what life has in store for her, she becomes less concerned with changing her fate, then in accepting her life and enjoying all of the people that she loves. I loved all the characters and felt like they were real people! This book is absolutely one of my favorite books of the year.
“All good things end, always. The trick is to enjoy them while they last.”