At the beginning of May, a #bookstagram friend and I decided to do a #buddyread for An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim. I was excited because Thea Lim is a Canadian author and this book had been on my TBR pile for quite some time. Then I read the dust jacket that reminded me it was about a deadly flu pandemic. Oh boy! Who reads about global pandemics during an ACTUAL global pandemic? You can't see me, but I am raising my hand.
This story is about Frank and his girlfriend, Polly. Really, it focuses more on Polly. It takes place in the 1980's, Frank has the flu, and yes, it sounds a lot like what we are experiencing now with COVID-19.
Here's the twist: time travel has been invented and in the future, there is a treatment for the flu. Sounds convenient doesn't it?
Here's the plan: Polly will travel into the future twelve years and wait for Frank. This way the treatment he needs will be paid for.
In reality: Time travel is tricky and Polly gets rerouted by five years.
There are flashbacks, that I really enjoyed, in which we learn how Frank and Polly met, how their relationship developed and when Frank became ill. This helped to give the characters some depth and make the story more believable.
Polly's time in the future (which is really the 1990's) is frustrating to read. It's supposed to be. The book, without being direct, is really about refugees, immigration and displacement. Polly tries to navigate her way through all of the politics, loss of identity, and culture shock. She goes through a lot and I felt for her. She's all alone and the thing giving her hope is finding Frank. For Frank, their time apart has been 17 years, for Polly it's been quite recent. Will she find him? Will he wait for her?
The ending was realistic for me and I liked the concept of this book. The frustration I felt, is probably what many immigrants experience, not being able to get ahead, feeling caught in the politics, not understanding or being understood, having to work at jobs that are not meeting your full potential, and not knowing who can be trusted. Polly experiences all of this and we take that journey with her. It's a very clever way of telling this story.
Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛🐛