“As he spoke, he turned and looked at me, with such complete comprehension in his eyes that I felt we’d somehow discussed the subject exhaustively. In fact, for just a second I was irrationally convinced that in some previous conversation I couldn’t quite remember we’d talked about everything on earth . . . It was a queer sensation a―kind of flash of recognition”
Shannon Lightly is lost. All her life she’s been wandering the earth, traveling with her parents from one part of the world to the next. In search of a home she returns to America and finds herself more estranged than ever. As a sort of respite, her Uncle offers her a chance to break free. One summer of complete liberation, no pressure to be anyone, do anything, go anywhere. Taking an assumed name, Shannon decides to work as a waitress. All is well until she begins to find her life twined with those around her, and her masquerade becomes a harder burden to bear than she’d ever thought it could be.
This book touched my soul.
I rarely find a story that is not only captivating to read, but also speaks to me. It was as if it was spoken in language I’d been speaking my whole life. A language I wasn’t aware even existed until I heard someone using the words I’d known all along.
Here is a “kindred spirit” if you wish. Eloise Jarvis Mcgraw is gone. But I feel as if she and I would have been good friends. Someone who saw life in full color and wistfulness. With all the dreamy, poetic touches that people find so repulsive. Now that I think about it, all of her books hold a sort of dreamy wistfulness to them. I think that’s what I always found most appealing. The fact that she didn’t see life flat and dull, but as shifting and elusive as a cloud in the sky. If that makes any sense?
- Sherry. I don’t think I’ve found a character this appealing in ages. From the minute he entered the story I found him captivating. His insatiable curiosity, languid manners, and gentle kindness all created a vivid picture of this human unlike any other character I’ve read.
- Shannon Lightly. She was very relatable. Even though this book was written in a different time frame and set in a different era I still felt a certain kinship to her. The story is what they call a “coming of age” story I think. I personally find those labels annoying, but that is what people label this story and I can understand why. Every moment is leading up to her finding herself, who she is, her purpose. Thankfully the book never comes to an explicit conclusion. Still, it raises more questions about what it means to live and learn and be a human. Shannon, throughout the whole story changes quite dramatically, yet she also remains unchanged in many aspects.
- All the characters. Yes, I thought they were all delightful. The different boarders Shannon lives with are all unique and really bring the story to life.
- The storyline. It meanders, it twists, it turns, it rests but it never stops. Reading this book was like walking along a path in a park. I didn’t know quite were it was leading, but I always knew that it was leading somewhere. What I found was the path itself was more or less the destination, and when you come to the end of the book the story or path never really ends either. Instead its as if you can see it stretching out ahead of you. This was both satisfying and unsatisfying. I think on a whole it fit the book much better than if she had tied up all the loose ends completely, it fit the style of the story.
- There is no solid ending. I know I said I liked this. Well, I liked that it fit in with the theme. I did not like that I never got to see a specific scene that resolved everything at the end. It was left with a sort of unfinished feeling on purpose. I understand the benefits of this, but I still can’t help feeling a little frustrated and disappointed to not be left with a more satisfying conclusion.
I said it earlier. This book touched my soul. I shall not forget it. (Well I don’t think I will. Honestly I say that about a lot of things, and forget a lot of things. Only time will tell eh?)