Review: How We End Up By Douglas Wells


Jackson Levee, an ambitious young college instructor and novice poet, saves nine year old twin girls, Hadley and Haley, from drowning in the Gulf of Mexico. He writes a poem titled After the Rescue based on the incident and receives critical acclaim and a wide readership as the result of an appearance on a popular national television talk show. The twins mature into beautiful but troubled young women. Jackson s success leads him to a professorship at an esteemed university in the Carolina mountains where meets LaVeda with whom he has a temporarily happy marriage, but his ascendant star falls soon thereafter. Hadley marries a womanizer and discovers through a chance meeting that she is gay, loses the relationship, and sinks into alcohol and drug abuse. Haley suffers a depressive episode and afterwards begins an unfulfilling affair with her older supervisor, subsequently marrying an army reservist who is horribly wounded in the Iraqi War and whose PTSD threatens everything. Through the years, the characters experience both exultations and discontent. When the three reunite after twenty-five years, a devastating event transpires, but those left behind struggle to realize their destinies and find redemption.



I am a massive fan of Douglas Wells already and I cannot understand why this talented writer isn’t better known!

How we end up is a step away from Wells’s previous satire persona and I was initially nervous to pick this piece of Literary Fiction up as I wasn’t sure how you could go from one genre to something completely different.  He has DONE IT though!

This book is a sublime read with exceptional attention to detail in the development of Jackson and the twins.  It really is second to none.

It is a twisting tale of how the lives of Jackson and the twins diverge and come back together through over two decades of Jackson’s life. With highs of Jacksons literary career to the lows of divorce and depression this book has something for everybody.

It’s a book on many levels.  On the one hand it is easy to read yet Wells has still produced a piece of work that makes you think if you choose to.

If you can’t yet tell as with Douglas Wells previous work I adore this novel and if you only take one suggestion this year on what to read.  Read this!

Reviewed by Nat

Disclosure: The pursuit of bookiness received a copy of this book free of charge in return for an honest review.  All opinions are our own

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