Toby: A Novel by David Johnson

Setting: Tennessee
Genre: Women's Fiction/General Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: July 26, 2016

The puppy she found as a child has been Symphony Nelson's best friend since she was a preteen. Over a decade later, Symphony works for a local nursing home. She's made bad choices, but she's trying to improve herself and make something of her life. Her father abandoned Symphony when she was young, and since that day, she's been the main caretaker to her mother, a woman suffering from mental illness. It's made things very hard for Symphony.

Soon Symphony learns she has a "guardian angel." Who is he and why is he making his appearance known now? He may be the only person who can keep her safe, however, when she finds herself in over her head.

For the first few chapters of Toby: A Novel, I admit I struggled. The plot seemed bland. Just a woman who worked all day, came home to her dog and mentally ill mother at night. Repeat. It takes a little time before the real plot is dished up. At that point, I liked the pacing, but Symphony's choices became irritating.

Without giving away spoilers, the choices Symphony makes and the situations she finds herself in did not make me sympathetic. By the end, I was a little disturbed honestly. For that reason, this is not a book I'd want to read again. I wanted to love it, but in the end, I really found nothing that makes me think this book is a keeper.


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