Review: The Album by Ashley Pullo - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review: The Album by Ashley Pullo

My Thoughts

A one-of-a-kind heartfelt and witty story about fate, love and friendships.
One of the most uniquely written and structured stories I’ve read this year.

4stars

Synopsis

the albumFive Friends.

Five narratives.

One Epic Soundtrack.

Location: New York City (TriBeCa, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill)
Setting: 1996-2013

Characters:
Chloe LeGrange – talented musician searching for a purpose
Natalie LeGrange – lovable free-spirit chasing her dreams
Adam Ford – perceptive attorney longing for a surprise
Zach Parker – philosophical Marine defending love
Chris Brooks – charming Texan with perpetual bad timing

Objective:
Unexpected encounters and brushes with fate construct a web of stories about the journey of love and acceptance.

Themes:
Fate, acceptance, sex, drugs, and really good music.

Genre:
Indie/Romance/Humor/Drama

The Album is a journey following five friends over the span of two decades. Set against the timeless backdrop of New York City, their story is a classic retelling of what it means to follow your dreams, accept reality, and have a lot of fun in the process.

My Review

“Every great story has a beginning, whether it’s a planned meeting, a random encounter, or an impulsive jump into the unknown. But it’s the middle of the narrative that really counts… expanding the verse and building the chorus. And this story, the one that starts as soon as it ends, is a musical journey of fate and acceptance.”

Author Ashley Pullo delivers a fresh approach to storytelling in her novel, The Album. This is a story imparted by five individuals, whose lives came together by fate and family, connections colliding through a span of almost two decades. With music to fuel the story, we experience the soundtrack of their lives… the highs and the lows and a lot of the in between. What was really interesting was the way the story was structured. It starts when some of the characters were young, establishing the most important thread in the story, the relationship between cousins Natalie and Chloe (I loved that it showed how soulmates can be friends). The story surges forward, in these short bursts, through these momentary glimpses into their lives. We don’t see the expanded view, and the story doesn’t move seamlessly, it’s like a conglomeration of significant moments (what I saw as tracks) in their lives.

“Life is made up of millions of destinations; some alone, some with friends, some in fear, and some chasing dreams.

We meet Chloe, who is fiery and artistic with a “streak of insanity.” She sees the world as a story best told through music, feeling everything deeply and instinctively. We also meet Natalie, who is vibrant, funny and bursting with life. She’s outwardly irreverent, but she’s tremendously kind and empathic. Together they get into all kinds of trouble, chasing their dreams and falling back on their friendship to get them through it all. Their banter is fantastic. The humor is quick and truly funny and I found myself smiling hugely at their exchanges.

Natalie meets Zacharie during one chance encounter on a train, and an epic love story sparks to life. I fell in love with their story. So charged, so them, so full of passion. They are like two halves of a whole and I frankly could have read an entire book about them. Their story takes off at full speed, and was the best part of the book for me. Whereas the relationship between Nat and Chloe was the soul of the story, Nat and Zach were the heart of it.

“Ma femme, Je ne regrette rien, because I found everything.”

Chloe has a more difficult time grabbing a hold of her fate, as she meets the man destined for her, Adam, but pulls away after a misunderstanding. I wanted to see more of their time together, as we saw with Nat and Zach, helping to build a connection and understanding of who they were as a couple.

We also meet Chris, from Texas, who crashes into their lives at a time where things were broken and life was difficult. Timing was everything for this character, but fate just demanded patience.

There were so many amazing things about this novel, the structure, the wit, the music, the friendship and certainly the love story between Zach and Nat, and all those elements were mixed in a really amazing way. The one thing I would say, however, is that the story felt a bit unbalanced. It starts off slowly as we get to know the girls, then picks up as Natalie’s story takes hold, and then very much rushes through to the end. There were some moments in the book that really devastated me, and disrupted my connection to the story in a way that was difficult for me to get back into the flow of it (a nod to Pullo’s strong characterization of a particular protagonist) and there were some gaps that were not addressed that I really wanted explored.

The novel was penned in a way that could have been truly epic, I just needed some moments covered, the last part of the book slowed and a better paced story that felt a bit more seamless, even if it unfurled in a haphazard, stream-of-consciousness sort of way. My understanding is that we get more richness in the sequel, The Ballad, particularly as we delve into more of Chloe and Adam’s relationship, which is exactly what I was looking for.

Regardless, I very much enjoyed The Album and applaud Ashley Pullo for doing things differently and boldly. This definitely won’t be the last I read from this talented author, and if you’re a music lover who loves nineties references (LIKE ME!), you should definitely pick this book up… you’ll get a kick out of it.

“Friendship, like any relationship, is hard work. Wrought with good memories, but inevitably compromised by changing variables.”

addtogoodreads

Reading Order and Links

the album the ballad album

Connect with Ashley

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