Editorial note: I received a copy of Oona Out of Order in exchange for a review.
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore is such a charming story that serves as a perfect distraction read.
Life is very different at the moment. I haven’t read as much as I would like as it’s easy to get consumed by the news. But I finally took a break this week and read Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore. This book was exactly what I needed!
This is definitely a quirky story—in the best possible way. It involves time travel but it’s not heavy on the sci-fi aspect. It really is about living life fully in the moment.
Here’s the synopsis:
It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order…
Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met? Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.
If you’re looking for an explanation of why Oona travel to different eras in her life—you’re not going to get it. There’s no explanation of why Oona experiences this. But that didn’t bother me. Honestly, I feel like most time travel is pretty confusing or random, so not learning the mechanics of how her time travel works didn’t take away from the story. But I know some people might get bothered by that so just giving a heads up.
While I’m fine with not knowing about her time travel works, I think it would have been interesting if she would have came across someone else who has her same condition. But in a sense that person does exist—it’s just a different version of Oona in letter form.
I loved the different eras from the ’80s to ’90s to the 2000s to 2017—it’s really fun exploring those eras with Oona’s journey. I really liked that there’s not a chronological order so she should be in 2015 at one moment and then in ’94 in the next moment. It’s a very clever way to tackle time travel.
Living in the Moment
The big takeaway I took from this story is the importance of living in the moment, which I think is hard for most of us to do. We’re always looking head, planning and almost living life for the future. But sometimes it’s important to have a reminder of why we need to slow it down at times and really appreciate every day. I feel this social distancing era is also a reminder of that.
There’s plenty of humor as Oona is pretty much a fish out of water in every era. But there’s also lots of emotional depth. She’s not able to live a life in a traditional way so she does miss out on quite a bit.
But Oona is not alone. Her mother and assistant are both aware of her condition and help fill in some of the gaps. She also writes letters to herself to give her a playbook on how to handle that year. Still, nothing can prepare Oona for what life will throw her way.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a more lighthearted book and this was such a welcome change. I was so excited to see that Good Morning America picked this one for its book club! I really encourage you all to read this lovely novel.
Final review thoughts: a fun, and sometimes, heart-wrenching novel about the importance of living in the moment.
Check out my book club questions here.