Title: Hey Harry, Hey Matilda
Author: Rachel Hulin
Genre: Domestic Fiction
Number of Pages: 276
Harry and Matilda are twins who have reminded close through adulthood, though their relationship is often based around dysfunction and drama. Harry is a college professor who wants to be a writer, and Matilda is an alcoholic wedding photographer who seems to be failing miserably at ‘adulting.’ When Harry starts having an affair with a student and Matilda settles on a man she barely likes, let alone loves, the two offer each other support in their own uniquely neurotic way while venting about their loser parents and myriad failures to achieve their dreams and reach their full potential.
Hey Harry, Hey Matilda is an offbeat character study of two self-absorbed people who find solace in their close (if slightly creepy) love-hate relationship. It’s not for everyone, though I was surprised how low it’s rating was on Goodreads. I guess I probably have a lot more tolerance for these kinds of stories than most people do. None of the characters in the novel are particularly likable, but they’re very well-written in the sense of their authenticity.
Matilda felt particularly real to me, and Jesus Christ was she a frustrating character- glib, selfish, endlessly self-defeating. But it was these traits that made her seem so real to me, because human behavior is not always pretty and this story shed light on some of the ugly interpersonal behaviors that run in some families. I was halfway expecting Matilda to be revealed to be Bipolar at some point because she definitely came off that way to me. She also sent some strong ‘personality disorder’ vibes, always a fun addition to a person’s genetics.
I enjoyed the way the book’s format consisted entirely of a long series of text messages between the brother and sister; I don’t think I’d ever heard of a book that did that that wasn’t written for young adults. I also really liked the disorganized nature of their conversations and how they’d just lapse into non sequiturs at the drop of a hat, because it made it felt like the way people really communicate. The only thing I didn’t like that much about Hey Harry, Hey Matilda was the ending; I wish it had a little more of a sense of closure. I’m not sure why people seemed to dislike it so much, I’d personally like to see more by this author.