This novel made me cry on public transportation twice and miss my bus stop once—it was that absorbing and heart-rending. Unlike several of the main characters and the author, I have no particular love for Pearl Jam, but the references to the band weren’t crucial to appreciating the story. Perhaps they’d add another dimension for another fan?
The real magic, which anyone should be able to enjoy, is how wonderfully developed the main characters are and the way the story unfolds, with real tensions and conflicts emerging just as they do in real life, not because anyone’s evil or necessarily does anything really wrong, but because people have understandable fears and insecurities and make mistakes. Also, sometimes they have to deal with incredibly hard things. I admit, a few of the minor characters did seem just a bit two-dimensional (especially a mother-in-law type who’s almost too awful to be believed), but in some ways that just served to highlight how nuanced and appealing and fully fleshed-out the main characters were.
I realized as I was reading it how few other novels I’ve read that really center on working-class people. The kind of people who’ve had experiences in the foster care system, had to negotiate sub-optimal living situations and imperfect means of getting to work, people who have to scramble to come up with the cash for unexpected expenses. That gave it a refreshingly down-to-earth perspective you don’t often get from mass-market books and movies.
It’s also a real page-turner. I had to stop myself from racing through it and exercise some real discipline not to stay up way too late reading it on multiple nights. Especially recommended for fans of gripping literary realism, high drama, Pearl Jam, and/or Michigan.
A State Love and Trust is a captivating read that you don’t want to put down but eventually have to because it’s 2 am and you have to get up in the morning to go to work. It’s that kind of book. It’s fast-paced and easy to get lost in. You will laugh and probably cry but only best books have the ability to make you experience such emotion. I highly recommend this book.
I was a little unsure of the story working through the first few chapters, but once these characters clicked, I was drawn in. The events in these characters lives—the tragedy these twins survived early in life excepted—feel very real, very true to who they are. And that makes them relatable, even if you haven’t experienced these relationship issues. As a fellow Pearl Jam fan—the author clearly is—I enjoyed appreciating the backstory on a fellow fan. Often times we meet and talk about the band but we never peak behind the curtain. It’s useful to be reminded that we all go through our own stuff, but we always have this band’s music to bind us. If you’re thinking of dismissing this book because it’s self-published, don’t. It’s well written, with a tight story, that vacillates nimbly between the two first-person narrators.
Read this book in just a few days—I couldn’t put it down! Grace Ombry has created memorable characters that in equal parts I loved and related to, but also sometimes wanted to punch in the face. 🙂 That’s the beauty of the story she writes—we’re all human and flawed, but have the best of intentions. The story sucks you in. You’re not sure where she’s going to take you, but you want to go along AND she keeps you hanging until the end of the book. I possess only limited knowledge of Pearl Jam but feel it didn’t get in the way of me understanding the story—it added to the context. State of Love and Trust is a worthwhile read by a talented and upcoming writer—I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
Grace took on the difficult subjects of love, relationships, abortion, family, and children in this story and wove it together into a compelling tale which left me wanting more and shedding tears. The heartbreak and deep love were beautiful and I hope to read more from her soon.
I just finished reading this book and it’s a great read. The first half was interesting, but it was the second half that was a page-turner. I feel like I can really understand the characters and how they make their decisions. The combination of tragedy and love is something I could really feel through the characters and the storytelling.
Grace takes sensitive and painful topics and intertwines them with humor. She skillfully develops her characters, and the reader comes to accept (and maybe even like) all of them (even the ones that have terrible flaws.) This is a book worth reading, so I did not give a synopsis. You need to read this one for yourself, and I recommend that you do.
If you have ever loved a band, been an outsider, or struggled to forgive yourself, you will recognize these characters. These anti-heroes will have you rooting for them. I found this story to be very well-written. The narrative was not predictable, yet it made complete sense. When I finished this novel, I found I wanted to spend more time with them. I hope Ms. Ombry continues to write. With a first novel like this one, I can only anticipate her future novels.
“State of Love & Trust” is not the kind of book I normally read. I am not a rock music fan and so missed the meaning of the many references to rock songs, albums, and stars. However, I found the book intriguing and hard to put down! Probably because at its heart the book is about resilience, love, and our common humanity more than rock music. Ms. Ombry does a terrific job of developing the characters and unfolding the twists and turns of their funny/tragic lives. Ellie and Clive Rafferty had the kind of beginning that often results in hardened losers on the fringe of society. But, we see them living, hurting, learning and still loving. I found myself caring about them and hoping they would find a way to be happy.
I won’t give the story away… but recommend that you get the book and read it for yourself.
I’m not a big fiction fan, but I am a big Pearl Jam fan and I absolutely loved this book. As one of the other reviews states, it does take a few chapters for the characters to develop, but once you get past that it is one of those books that is hard to put down. The Pearl Jam references are nice, but you don’t need to know anything about the band to get the full context of the book and story. It’s a great read, real people, real characters and a book I would certainly recommend to anyone.
Not my usual genre, but it kept me hooked the whole way through. I literally couldn’t put it down during the final third of the book. To put it simply, it’s amazing. Definitely worth the read.
Morgan M. Steele
I found this book to be massively entertaining, regardless of the fact that I know next to nothing about Pearl Jam and I’m admittedly snobby about fiction. It’s funny, relatable and refreshingly unpredictable. The characters are fully formed; they endure drama and trauma, but remain buoyant – often hilariously so – which made me care about them as if they were new friends. I hope Grace Ombry writes more so I can catch up with Ellie and Clive and my personal favorite, Saint.