It doesn’t take me long to read a book if I can keep an interest. There were several times early on, when I wanted to quit reading and move onto something else. But I am determined to meet my book quota for the month and finished it. I had to take several breaks though as I often found myself getting impatient or bored.
I finished the book about an hour ago as part of my 2022 Good Reads Challenge. This makes book number #2 that I’ve read so far. I had to read some of the reviews before making up my mind and reflected on the ending for a while.
“They spend their whole lives walking away from you,” the kindergarten teacher had said on her little girl’s first day. “Your job now is to be there when they look back.”
The story centers around two people and their own stories of personal loss and grief. Or more accurately, horrific tragedies that don’t seem plausible but still entertaining to read.
Jenna Shaw is a grieving widow who has lost her husband due to a tragic accident. She is an unlikable character who has lost the will to carry on. She drives out to the middle of nowhere in Minnesota to end her life.
Unbeknownst to Jenna, the spot she chose to drown herself in belonged to an older man who was known being a “gruff” recluse. Or as she calls him later – “old bastard.” Lars Jorgensen spots Jenna from his kitchen window and he rushes to stop her.
When her van refuses to start, she is trapped in town with Lars for several days. The two form an unlikely friendship and they help each other through their own losses which are revealed to the reader throughout the book.
My review and thoughts
What I did not expect was to cry at the end of the book. I suppose I could identify with the inner voice that was Jenna’s guilt. Her guilt manifested as her daughter Cassie’s voice and this makes sense to me. I often hear my own mother’s voice in my head. She is my worst critic at times, and my savior at other times.
The book is pretty slow but the pace quickens up around chapter 19-20. You start to warm up a little to the Jorgensen family as you learn more about their personal tragedies and loss. While some of the twists and turns are a little unrealistic – stranger things have happened in real life.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
All in all, I found myself more emotional towards the end of the book and for that reason – I gave it four stars. The book was well written. Worth sticking it out to the end even if the ending was a bit disappointing.
Was it perfect? No. Enjoyable? I guess that would depend on where you are in your life. If you’re no stranger to grief like I am, then you might enjoy it.
Worth reading? Yes.
Interested in more of my reviews? Follow me on Good Reads!
- My Christmas reading list – 2020
- February Good Reads – 2021
- August Good Reads – 2021
- September Good Reads – 2021
- October Good Reads – 2021
- Podcast Recommendations – 20