Friday, July 27, 2012
A Simple Thing
I am so excited when I find books that really speak to the heart of things I had to endure in my personal life before I found God and this is the perfect example, A Simple Thing by Kathleen McCleary. The subject matter is true to life in this imperfect world but yet the story speaks volumes to those of us hurting in so many different ways, that it doesn't have to stay that way. There is hope and there are ways to deal with those extremely painful times and move forward.
Sounder Island is that place for two remarkable women who come to this isolated island for a much more simple life, a place for solitude and a place to deal with things in their own way. Susannah Delaney is having issues in three very different but understandable ways. Her daughter, Katie at 14 is pulling away from her overly controlling mom by sneaking out late at night, attending parties her mother knows nothing about and drinking while seeing a older boy that both parents know is influencing her in negative ways to rebel. When her drinking gets out of hand, almost killing her, Susannah feels that a change in environment is the cure. Her youngest son, Quinn is the subject of being bullied and when he comes home from school, badly beaten up, she feels her decision to move the family to Sounder Island is the right one.
However for two very active kids, they aren't looking forward to complete isolation on the island at a cottage with no electricity, indoor plumbing and living off the land. Yet is Susannah doesn't take action, she believes she will lose one, if not both of her children to a lifestyle she can't control. However, her husband Matt, doesn't believe that running away with the kids is the answer, but Susannah is firmly convinced that the next 9 months will be life-saving to her kids. If Matt won't support her, she'll go anyway. So she pulls the kids out of school and makes plans to rent a cottage and live there until the end of the school year.
Betty Pavalak has moved to the island as well to avoid a very painful past. When her husband Bill wanted a change of pace from his day to day, nine to five, life style, he attempted to convince Betty to move to Alaska so he could pursue a life of a fisherman and provide a more stable financial life for them, but Betty didn't want to give up her family, friends or her job, for the excitement Bill wanted in Alaska. But when she miscarries three of her children, she wonders if a change of pace might just be the thing to restore the distance between her and Bill. However when she compromises and settles for a life in Sounder Island instead, Bill is content, but his commitment to his marriage wavers and Betty soon learns that Bill is having an affair. She doesn't know what to do anymore and feels that she can't live with Bill any longer but doesn't want to divorce him either, now that she learns she is pregnant again. Will she be able to find the peace and love she so desperately needs?
I received A Simple Things by Kathleen McCleary compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and I have to say, this book captivated me in a different way than I thought possible. It takes a hard look at the unfortunate set of circumstances each of these women have been dealt in life, and shows you how each of them weathered through them to get to the other side. While faith is rarely mentioned, it does portray each set of problems in very real ways in my opinion. While the choices are not easy made, they do move forward at their own pace, dealing with a wide range of emotions that really tugs on your heart strings. I could relate to so many of their issues, even though teenage drinking wasn't an issue for me. This is a very real and believable book that I think women can honestly relate to. For that reason, I give this a 5 out of 5 stars. While I don't condone the decisions some of these women made, its the believability and vulnerability of the characters, Kathleen McCleary creates that I enjoyed the most and I loved how the story is told from both Betty and Susannah's perspectives in alternating chapters.
For more information on this book, the author and where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:
ISBN: 9780062106230; ISBN10: 0062106236; Imprint: William Morrow Paperbacks ; On Sale: 7/24/2012; Format: Trade PB; Trimsize: 5 5/16 x 8; Pages: 304; $14.99; Ages: 18 and Up; BISAC1:FIC044000
You can also click here to read an excerpt from Kathleen's Facebook page or you can visit her website by clicking here.