It is an extremely good feeling when a person you love loves a book that you love. Orders of magnitude better feeling when a person you love who does not normally (ever) read books (1) reads a book and (2) loves a book and (3) that book turns out to be one you don’t mind/enjoy (I want so much to go so far as to say love, but… #integrity).
I get that this is what it means to share passions and that this is so much of what does underpin close relationships – I do. But so many of my recent friend additions have been ones where the first point of connection is being Adults With Small Dependents And Too Many Responsibilities, and not The! Joy! Of! Reading! (though to the credit of K. and K. this *is one of our shared connections, and I’m grateful for it).
Enter Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me. Our ill-named book club (famous for never picking, never-mind reading a book) decided we’d had enough mockery, and so we’d read a book. Problem: C. who refuses to read (anything? that can’t be true. But made up things where you might feel something). So we gave her the power to choose the book, and she did. And she loved it! (though, she – like me – couldn’t remember the name of it two weeks after reading it, so maybe something to take back to the focus group: get a better title).
I won’t tell you it’s the best book you’ve ever read, but it is a romp. The sort of thing you can immediately see being turned into a miniseries (oh wait, it has been already?) starring someone and someone and extra tall wine glasses. It follows Hannah and her
step-daughter Bailey in the days after Hannah’s husband/Bailey’s father, Owen, goes missing – oh he leaves behind some notes, some cash, and is wanted in connection with a collapsing ponzi scheme (though maybe all ponzi schemes are collapsing? anyway).
While tripping along the thriller-suspense-can’t-put-it-down-just-one-more-chapter-I-swear lane, the book stumbles into some interesting thematic questions about what it means to be a parent – like literally in the sense of the limits of biology, but of course more in the sense of what responsibilities, what sacrifices, what ways of thinking-being are required. It makes a reasonably good case that ‘parent’ is to be – the verb, I mean – and has almost nothing to do with the noun.
And if you’re not into books with parenting themes there’s still lots of quasi-car chase scenes to keep you entertained, and modestly interesting other threads about identity and starting over. Perfect book for a beach or airplane.
But mostly? It’s a lot of fun. And so much more fun when your not-a-book-club people read it with you. Thanks, C.