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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
The More Beyond by Jill Thomas follows the story of a young girl trying to navigate life while growing up in a dysfunctional family. Fed up with the whims of her neglectful parents, Morton Guthrie ends up trying to commit suicide twice in four days, leading her to a prolonged stay at the psychiatric hospital, where she slowly begins her recovery by talking to her psychiatrist, Dr. Aaron Gottlieb. Her parents invite her to a family get-together at a Manhattan hotel for a three-day weekend. In between, Morton's mother suffers traumatic episodes of her own while her father indulges in a colorful sex life. Meanwhile, when not trying to kill herself, Morton enjoys art, writing, and some awkward times with her troublesome twin cousins. Will she be able to move on from the baggage of her past?
In an enthralling character-driven drama, Jill Thomas highlights the impact of parental neglect and chronic narcissism on children who are left to fend for themselves. Readers who enjoy books like The Catcher in the Rye will love The More Beyond. Morton Guthrie reminded me a lot of Holden Caulfield. Despite her privileged upbringing, Morton seems lost and alone, with no one close to share her feelings with. She feels unloved, leading her to take drastic measures while her parents deal with issues of their own. As a reader, you sympathize with Morton's plight and want her to resolve her situation. I found the ending somewhat bittersweet and all the more satisfying for that. This is a brilliant book for literary fiction readers.