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~READ E-PUB ⚆ Kom hier dat ik u kus ⚉ Kom hier dat ik u kus is een roman over Mona, als kind, als vierentwintigjarige, en als vijfendertigjarige Een verhaal over waarom we worden wie we zijn, geschreven met humor, scherpte en veel schaamteloze eerlijkheid Over ouders en kinderen Over kapotte mensen en hoe zij ongewild anderen ook kapotmaken Over waar verantwoordelijkheid eindigt en schuld begint Over geheimen en eenzaamheid Over ziekte en zwijgen Over de gevaren van sterk zijn Over vergeten en niet kunnen vergeten Over jezelf durven redden En natuurlijk ook nog over de liefde Omdat dat alles is wat we hebben, of toch bijna Rating 3 5 starsARC provided by publisher Mona in Three Acts is the first novel by well known Flemish author Griet Op de Beeck to be translated into English, and the first one I read both in translation, as well as in its original Dutch Many thanks to the publisher Crossing for providing me with an early copy of the former As with most of Griet Op de Beecks books, Mona in Three Acts is a literary contemporary novel, that centres around coming of age in a slightly dysfunctional family un Rating 3 5 starsARC provided by publisher Mona in Three Acts is the first novel by well known Flemish author Griet Op de Beeck to be translated into English, and the first one I read both in translation, as well as in its original Dutch Many thanks to the publisher Crossing for providing me with an early copy of the former As with most of Griet Op de Beecks books, Mona in Three Acts is a literary contemporary novel, that centres around coming of age in a slightly dysfunctional family unit As the title would imply, we follow Mona in a story that is split into 3 parts with a substantial time jump in between each of them In part 1, we get to know her as a 9 year old, shortly after the death of her mother, coping with the fact that her father is getting remarried We see her navigate her way around all these new emotions and see her relationship with her stepmother and stepsiblings play out In part 2, her story continues when Mona is around 25 when she moves in with her boyfriend and faces the first struggles in her starting career In part 3, Mona returns home to take care of her father on his sickbed and many puzzle pieces of the last years begin to fall into place I have to commend the novel for its consistency and build up of characters We see how the way that Mona was brought up influences the way she forms relationships later in life, which makes up the central theme of the novel Not just Mona, but the other reappearing characters follow this line All of them have distinct personalities and all of them are just the right amount of flawed to be realistic, but not too unlikable That being said, the nature of this novels theme almost directly prevents character growth in the main character Op de Beeck does an exceptional job at writing from a childs perspective, which is why I probably enjoyed part 1 the most Unfortunately, Mona retains that na ve childish outlook throughout the rest of the novel, which got on my nerves quite fast My second problem, which is also inherently linked to the theme this novel goes for, is that everything is so oversimplified Yes, people are creatures of habit, that have a tendency to stick to the same patterns Yet the way the author psychoanalyses her character down to a single thing in her past just rubs me the wrong way As a literary device, it treads the thin line between character background and psychology for dummies As an outlook on life, it completely removes all agency from the person and labels them as a victim of their past, rather than an individual capable of taking responsibility for their own life As a final note I d like to say that I actually enjoyed the English translationthan I did the original Op de Beeck has a tendency to try a little too hard when writing dialogue, which results in overly directed, too profound sentences that feel out of place in the mouths of the characters that deliver them I think the translator did an excellent job of bending them into amoderate form, without losing the core of the message This novel is out in Dutch under the original titleKom hier dat ik u kus by Prometheus, and will be released in November 2019 via Crossing in its English translation 3.8Is Mona extraordinary Nah But is she pensive, sensitive, and smart You bet So I got pulled into her trials and tribulations and had a good read.Mona s family is dysfunctional aren t most and she goes through lots of turmoil as she grows up, but none of it is overly dramatic I just loved buddying up with Mona while she pondered what was happening in her head and heart as life happened to her The internal monologue never overpowered the story Plot to pondering ratio excellent Like t 3.8Is Mona extraordinary Nah But is she pensive, sensitive, and smart You bet So I got pulled into her trials and tribulations and had a good read.Mona s family is dysfunctional aren t most and she goes through lots of turmoil as she grows up, but none of it is overly dramatic I just loved buddying up with Mona while she pondered what was happening in her head and heart as life happened to her The internal monologue never overpowered the story Plot to pondering ratio excellent Like the book title says, there are three acts Mona as a 9 year old, Mona in her twenties, and Mona in her thirties I liked Mona as a kid slightlythan Mona as an adult, because 1 she spendstime observing people and things, 2 she takes things literally I always love that because it adds humor , and 3 she seemsunique as a kid Occasionally the kid voice is too adult, a pet peeve of mine Stand out portrayals her needy stepmom, her dad, and her boyfriend Her boyfriend was a class A jerk There s a sex scene where he is described in a super unappealing way it s pretty vivid and from then on, I felt yucky whenever he was in the room Kudos to the author for getting his yuckiness across to the reader.Standout scene being in a sweat lodge Man was that vivid and cool Standout lines I know, I know, I ve overdone it, but honestly, it s all I can do not to add twenty Her teeth are very white, much whiter than Daddy s, buttermilk compared to banana skin And now we re supposed to call Marie Mommy That s like getting two kittens and calling them both Fraggle some dreams stick to the roof of your head because all of the hunger from all the times she didn t finish her plate has gotten stuck in her body Consistency is the last resort of the unimaginative They couldn t have lookedshocked if he d just told them he was going to jail for stealing a truckload of zucchini I ve been falling out of a window my whole life, that s what it feels like Honestly, I missed my dadbecause the absence of a person who s standing right in front of you isintense, it seems If you ask people what s the best feeling you can have, most of them will say being in love or having an orgasm, but I know differently It s relief being afraid, waiting, and then the moment of salvation The author, from Belgium, is an award winner in her country, and this is her first book to be translated into English I couldn t tell that this was a translation, always an excellent sign I hopeof her work is translated This is a good little story I highlighted a lot as you can see from the quotes I pulled , which is why I rounded up my rating to 4 stars Check this one out Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy I was excited to read this book I ve enjoy other books from the Netherlands Belgium is bordered by the Netherlands.So, as soon as I learned about this book Thank You, Jaidee her review and passion for this book is heartfelt and wonderful ,..I downloaded a copy myself Mona In Three Acts was surprisingly much longer than other novels I ve read from this region of the world I felt it was too long The translation was finebut there were pages upon pages of very ordinary descri I was excited to read this book I ve enjoy other books from the Netherlands Belgium is bordered by the Netherlands.So, as soon as I learned about this book Thank You, Jaideeher review and passion for this book is heartfelt and wonderful ,..I downloaded a copy myself Mona In Three Acts was surprisingly much longer than other novels I ve read from this region of the world I felt it was too long The translation was finebut there were pages upon pages of very ordinary descriptions of daily life..so much so.that after awhile ordinary something I usually love, as ordinary is real was TOO ORDINARY.I appreciated Mona s Innocence vulnerability and her grief from having lost her biological mother as a young girl but I began to tire of Mona s child voice..and the dialogue I teetered back and forth between compassion for Mona and being bored myself I appreciated a lot about this story, how these characters felt how Mona handled abuse and neglect etc ,.but I also felt grumpy at times As a 67 year old reading this book I got itchy with pages of explanations of things I already knew I know what a cardiologist is I ve seen the movie The Sound of Music enough times that to read an entire chapter about the movie Mona explaining it to her six year old brotherjust felt annoying Then there were parts where I paused.feeling annoyed puzzled by the choice of visualsHere s an example I d like to share my food with the children in Africa, especially when it s Belgian endive, or when Marie has cooked pork chops that are so dry and chewy you could beat a small animal to death with them Beat a dead animal Why did Mona pick such a phrase I ll tell you whyOur little 9 year old protagonist Mona over heard her daddy say it when Marie stepmother , wasn t around Mona thought it was secretly funny I didn t Following Mona s life from a child to an adult.400 plus pagesbecame too daunting for me My patients were being tested The author definitely can tap into our emotions but with the combination of the writing itself being simplistic a few emotional outbursts and the book s length I felt a lot was being asked from adult readers..If this book was 200 pages shorter.I may have enjoyed thisI do applaud the author s insights into complex human relationships.exploring universal themes Mona in Three Acts tells the story of a child growing to womanhood and how the actions of her family and others around her formed her thoughts, feelings and ability to deal with life It is very relatable in how we often bend our will to others, allowing them to mold us, often causing us to keep our own desires at bay.Mona s strict and sometimes cold mother is killed in a car crash when Mona is young, and her father quickly remarries With a father who has been distant most of her life, and with Mona in Three Acts tells the story of a child growing to womanhood and how the actions of her family and others around her formed her thoughts, feelings and ability to deal with life It is very relatable in how we often bend our will to others, allowing them to mold us, often causing us to keep our own desires at bay.Mona s strict and sometimes cold mother is killed in a car crash when Mona is young, and her father quickly remarries With a father who has been distant most of her life, and with a new, insecure and demanding woman as her new mother, Mona continues the desire to please mechanism she formed with her birth mom Always trying to be helpful, blaming herself when things go wrong, and stuffing down her own feelings, she finally finds some release as an adult in working with a theater group Still, in her work and her choice of a lover, she doesn t even try to explore what really matters to her, she comes across as a good girl to her parents and as powerless but somewhat helpful in her job She recognizes that things aren t wonderful, but seems unable or unwilling to change anything.In the third act of the book, situations involving her father cause Mona to begin seeing things in a new way, and to alter relationships that had stayed stagnant for years Some may describe this story as depressing, but I didn t feel that way Certainly at times I wanted Mona to just break out and break away, but actually her life seemed very realistic in many ways I was definitely ready for the story to end, however, as I felt it dragged a little in the middle I applaud the translation from Dutch to English it was done very well and I felt no awkwardness at all, as I have in the past with other translations Thanks to NetGalley andCrossing for an opportunity to review this book 3 stars Family life it s complicated, part 2Last week I read Celeste NG s Everything I Never Told You, a very successful evocation of a family that is shattered by the death of one of the children Ng portrayed very nicely how not talking about tricky issues in her case gender and race related , and constantly adapting to avoid discussions, can lead to a dramatic result see my review This novel by the Flemish author Greet Op de Beeck ties in perfectly with Family life it s complicated, part 2Last week I read Celeste NG s Everything I Never Told You, a very successful evocation of a family that is shattered by the death of one of the children Ng portrayed very nicely how not talking about tricky issues in her case gender and race related , and constantly adapting to avoid discussions, can lead to a dramatic result see my review This novel by the Flemish author Greet Op de Beeck ties in perfectly with that For her too, it is all about a family where people don t say what they have in mind, and stay silent to spare each other, until the storm bursts.Op de Beeck has opted for a less kaleidoscopic approach than Ng, because she follows only one point of view that of the young female Mona, albeit in three different time periods at 9 11 years, 24 and 35 years Mona is a chameleon who constantly adapts, tries to avoid conflicts, and is content with whatever good thing that comes her way in other words she s someone with a very low self esteem In the first part, related by the 9 11 year old Mona, the author sketches well where that comes from, although I think that this part was be a bit long.Stylistically this novel not always is perfect, with sometimes strange twists in the phrasing, with the language of the 9 year old Mona that is far from realistic, and especially with the constant switching of personal pronouns Also in the composition there is something to criticize the choice for 3 time periods is successful, with a fairly homogeneously developing Mona, but the other figures make very strange twists during those different periods especially the father figure is almost unrecognizable in the last part There is also regular hinting towards situations of abuse, but that theme is not really worked out.But Op de Beeck also has her strengths she knows how to observe incredibly sharply and to zoom in on people s feelings, on the regularly misfit in communication between family members or the lack thereof Especially the scene at the father s deathbed to me was utterly shocking and gripping hitting very close to home The author was once a theatre dramaturge herself and that shows But there is also a downside to this the magnification that does work on a stage does much less so in a novel for example, the figure of stepmother Marie in the last part is very caricatural and bitchy Remarkably almost all characters actually are pathetic, tragic people, who almost constantly complain about their own fate the novel even suffers from a competition in pitifulness, becoming yet another variation on Tolstoy s famous opening sentence all happy marriages.A not unimportant side aspect of this novel is also the view into the special world of theater companies and writers Op de Beeck undoubtedly draws on her own experiences here, and the picture she paints is rather abhorring Especially the self centeredness of the eccentric director Marcus and of her boyfriend, the writer Louis, are extensively emphasized, again on the edge of the caricatural.I personally think this is asuccessful novel than her debut Vele hemels boven de zevende, but for the time being she s no competition for Celeste Ng Nevertheless I have to add something to this remark In my own Dutch language region from the beginning Op de Beeck has been attacked as a rather superficial or too emotional writer, ranging her within Young Adult or Chicklit The attacks sometimes were personal and denigrating, and often by male reviewers, which give them a rather sexist flavour Now, tastes can differ, and everyone is entitled to his her own opinion, but in my view Op de Beeck though she does not produce world literature and her style is not without flaw offers a very own captivating take on life and she ought to be respected for that That s why I give this novel a perhaps a bit too flattering 3 stars This book was a bit hard to get into I m not sure if it was the original writing or just the translation of it, but I couldn t really enjoy it because of it I thought the story was intriguing, and so were the characters, but again, I couldn t really enjoy it because of the writing.I m sad to say it wasn t for me Copy received through NetGalley Rating 2 5 stars We first meet Mona when she is almost ten, locked in a dark room in the basement by her mother, Agnes and accepting the punishment as her due since she has internalized her mother s criticisms of her being difficult and poorly behaved But, the cruel discipline soon ends when her parents are in a devastating car accident that kills Agnes.Mona s distant father, Vincent, waits only nine months before marrying Marie whose moods are erratic Marie often lapses into paranoia, believing Mona or her br We first meet Mona when she is almost ten, locked in a dark room in the basement by her mother, Agnes and accepting the punishment as her due since she has internalized her mother s criticisms of her being difficult and poorly behaved But, the cruel discipline soon ends when her parents are in a devastating car accident that kills Agnes.Mona s distant father, Vincent, waits only nine months before marrying Marie whose moods are erratic Marie often lapses into paranoia, believing Mona or her brother Alexander s benign behavior to be a deliberate slight Mona learns to repress her emotions to humor Marie and keep peace in the family Highly verbal with a rich interior life, the precocious child is observant and insightful but given her age is not always accurate in her observations.Part II finds Mona, in her mid twenties, at a turning point in her life when she accepts a position with an acclaimed theater producer director and meets a famous author while Part III presents Mona in her mid thirties as she faces personal and professional crises wondering if she can ever escape the patterns she learned as a child.For me, reading Mona in Three Acts, set in Belgium, written by Griet Op de Beeck, and translated by Michele Hutchison, was a pleasure I really felt for Mona in my bones, and I particularly enjoyed Part I, when she was trying to understand adult problems through a child s perspective Above all, the book is a character study, and its structure allows the reader to watch Mona s evolution over time Personally, I also really like books that have gaps like this where the events of the intervening years are puzzles to solve.Mona s central challenge the pull between fulfilling family responsibility and expectations and pursuing individual passions as well as her challenging relationships with her father and stepmother reflect universal conflicts, and I think many readers can if not see themselves in Mona certainly empathize with her She also has some brilliant reflections I highlighted many passages I was satisfied with everything in the book, but I did wish the novel had developed certain areas , particularly how outsiders like spouses and boy girlfriends relate to the family dynamics and a subplot about a conflict between Marie and one of Mona s younger siblings which felt incomplete.I really enjoyed Mona in Three Acts, and I wasn t ready for it to end Readers who enjoy literary fiction, character driven novels, and books in translation should consider this book.Thank you to NetGalley andCrossing for providing an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review 5 superlative, heartbreakingly funny and sad stars 8th Favorite Read of 2019 Award Thank you to Netgalley,Crossing and the author for this book I am offering this review in exchange Wow and whew This book was originally published in 2014 in Belgium and its English translation is due out in November 2019 This book is about Mona Middle class Mona Creative and loving Mona Mona who struggles with her self worth, her identity and her ability to be independent We see Mona at th 5 superlative, heartbreakingly funny and sad stars 8th Favorite Read of 2019 Award Thank you to Netgalley,Crossing and the author for this book I am offering this review in exchange Wow and whew This book was originally published in 2014 in Belgium and its English translation is due out in November 2019 This book is about Mona Middle class Mona Creative and loving Mona Mona who struggles with her self worth, her identity and her ability to be independent We see Mona at three points in her life As a young child who is loved but neglected and sometimes cruelly abused Mona as a young woman who yearns for love but sacrifices too much Mona in her thirties who finally comes into her own and makes courageous decisions to live for herself andimportantly to love herself Ms Op de Beeck is a writer of immense talent I cannot think of a book that I have read in recent years that was so genuinely able to get into the mind, body and spirit of a young child The anxieties, the misunderstandings and the need to please The insecurities of young womanhood and the blossoming of personhood as she encounters losses of both a minor and major kind My partner would watch me laugh out loud one moment and then sob unabashedly in another A book of tremendous authenticity, love and the ties that bind us to those we cherish and those we fear and those we may dislike immensely Mona will be on my mind for a very long time and in my heart forever Thank you Ms Op de Beeck for a work of immense joy, a work of tremendous sadness and a work that assists one in their own life journey 1.65 StarsI only liked one third of the book, so it gets one third of five stars.I really enjoyed the first act of Mona s life but once she grew up her life, and the book, became quite boring and mundane The story felt like it was written by a first time author who had trouble with the plot, and it was lacking in character development Mona leads an uninteresting life of neglect not only by herself but also by those around her The story was trite and uninteresting an amateurish and then scri 1.65 StarsI only liked one third of the book, so it gets one third of five stars.I really enjoyed the first act of Mona s life but once she grew up her life, and the book, became quite boring and mundane The story felt like it was written by a first time author who had trouble with the plot, and it was lacking in character development Mona leads an uninteresting life of neglect not only by herself but also by those around her The story was trite and uninteresting an amateurish and then script, with pointless details of every action, that meant nothing Maybe it was in the translation but Mona in Three Acts gets the prize for pedestrian writing The events are banal I have never plodded through a book like this one, I almost gave up at one point.it gets the prize for prosaic writing I was really disappointed with the last two thirds of this novel Thank you NetGalley, Griet Op de Beeck and Crossing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review all opinions are my own MonaInThreeActs NetGalley