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The Dilemma By B.A. Paris

By Ava Stern

This novel is 375 pages of pure anxiety. Surprisingly, it only took me two days to read this book despite it being not one of my favorites. The Dilemma tells the story of a family riddled with secrets that all start to explode at the main character Livia’s 40th birthday party.

Switching point of view in each chapter, we get a look into the “dilemma” that seems to surround each character. This novel is a long-strewn-out misunderstanding and lack of communication that becomes annoying. Both Livia and her husband have earth-shattering secrets that plague the whole long scene that takes up the entire novel.

I felt myself being disconnected from each and every character, failing to relate to or understand any of them.

I missed out on B.A. Paris’ typical thriller books and was left feeling extremely disappointed and depressed after a heart-wrenching ending. If you like some deep characterization and irritation, you should read this book. But if you like fast-paced thrillers and something that is not just feeling sorry for and anxious for the characters, do not read this book.

“I’m so close to the edge that I want to go out to the garden and scream at everyone to get the hell out of our house. To stop myself, I imagine the carnage it would cause– everyone staring at me in alarm, then Livia, my dad, Josh, Nelson trying to calm me, asking what’s wrong, worried that I’m having some kind of breakdown” (The Dilemma, 327).

The whole book feels like this quote, but everyone is trying to pass off as calm and collected.

In the end, I was feeling heartbroken and pissed off. Even though I didn’t like this book, I’m glad I read it and now know what I definitely do not like.

2.5/5 Stars

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