Every year on her birthday, Oona inexplicably leaps to a different year of her life, frustrating her ability to make sense of her life or keep relationships, yet allowing her to stay focused on the present moment.
... this book weaves intriguing food for thought into a fun romp of a story. The time travel element may be overly simplified, but the choice allows Montimore to explore other avenues and focus on characters in her debut. Readers will easily slip into Oona’s shoes as she develops following her internal age versus her external one, but learns no less about life for it. In different, yet entirely the same ways as the rest of us, Oona loves and experiences loss, triumphs, and falls flat on her face, but, at the end of the day (or in this case, year) she proves what we all already knew: the passing of time makes fools of us all.
Any potential hiccups in the time-travel plot are addressed adeptly --- and satisfyingly --- in later sections. At times, the question of Oona’s professional and financial success does seem like a bit of an easy way out. She keeps a folder in which she records stock splits and selloffs so that her past self can benefit from future knowledge (hint: invest in Apple in the 1980s), and has become fabulously wealthy as a result. I suppose this is one realistic outcome of the kind of time-hopping existence that Montimore has created, but one imagines it could have been interesting in its own right to see how Oona would cope with shifting workplace demands of different eras if she had to work rather than just mind her stock portfolio ... a bold debut novel by a writer who’s not afraid to try something risky right out of the gate. I, for one, can’t wait to see what her future will look like.
While many of us may feel that our internal age doesn’t match our external appearance, Montimore...takes that conceit to its witty, humorous, heartwarming extreme. Imbued with musical and cultural influences spanning decades and reminiscent of Lianne Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot (2011) and Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life (2013), Oona Out of Order is a delightfully freewheeling romp.