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  • Mandy McHugh

All's Well, Mona Awad: A Review

FIVE STARS


Bunny was an amazing read, and if you haven't picked that up yet, I highly recommend you do so. I was excited to see another Awad title available for request and was thrilled to be approved. This is out in August, but I couldn't wait to get started.

Miranda's theatrical career was cut short following a horrible fall of the stage that left her with crippling chronic pain. Now a professor at a local community college, Miranda is trying to revive the department by staging a performance of Shakespeare's All's Well that Ends Well. Debilitated and struggling to find her footing, Miranda is miraculously healed, and what follows is a dizzying descent into her mental health as she tries to stage the performance of a lifetime. I *loved* this book. Awad's writing is crisp and hilarious. With Miranda's sadness and the heavy subject matter, you'd expect it to be depressing or tragic, but there are moments of pure comedic magic--a fact that's echoed by the protag herself as she justifies the performance of All's Well as neither a comedy or a tragedy. It's an interesting moment of breaking the fourth wall, and I loved the parallels between the classic literature and Miranda's experience. The overarching theme running through All's Well, however, is an examination of pain--specifically women's pain--and the inability to be taken seriously. I've read countless articles lately about how medical professionals dismiss or diminish the pain women feel. Serious ailments are written off, leaving many women in a hopeless position of despair. There's the constant argument of whether or not her pain is imagined, a psychological cause, and with Awad's brilliant structure, you ride the fence of ambiguity. Miranda is a delightful unreliable narrator, and we never really get a firm hold on whether what she sees is reality, especially given the Faustian nature of the events. On a side note, as a forever English major, I appreciated the nods to various Shakespearean works, and the proverbial easter eggs were fun to find and analyze in relation to the story. But you do not have to be a Shakespeare lover to find this funny, and I think many readers will love Miranda and her harrowing adventure. Witty, hilarious, and insanely clever, All's Well is the book you didn't know you were missing. Out in August, add this to your TBR NOW and thank me later. Big thanks to Simon and Schuster for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

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