Okay, I admit it. I was convinced that I was NOT going to like this book. Nope, not at all.
It started out quite painfully. Children and their tender feelings were involved. There was a ton of angst, bad behavior and dysfunction. There was even some drugs, prostitution and a hypocritical preacher thrown in for good measure. It was your typical literary fiction and I just was certain that I was not going to appreciate it.
And then, quite suddenly, I realized that I was being drawn in. I started caring about Buckley R. Pitank, illegitimate son of Abigail Pitank, who wrote “The Handbook for Lighting Strike Survivors” after losing his beloved mother at 14 to a lightning strike. I found myself truly feeling for this lost boy who becomes an equally lonely young man. I wanted him to be happy.
Likewise, I wanted to know more about Becca Burke, the sensitive, haunted daughter of an alcoholic mother and a narcissistic father. I wanted to know more about her experience as a lightning strike survivor, her life in New York as an artist and her efforts to erase her painful childhood. I cared that she was making poor choices and that she needed to start fresh with her parents. I wanted her to be happy too.
Somehow, Michele Young-Stone made me truly care about these people and feel as though they were real. Their struggles in life weren’t sappy and pitiful; they were the struggles that so many others have on a daily basis. And, they were hopeful. In the end, there was always hope.
If you’re looking for a great, character-driven book, give this one a try. You won’t find ponies and rainbows in the pages, but you will find some very fine writing and believable characters. I’ll give it two thumbs up.
Let me know what you think.