What an unexpected pleasure in finding Libby Creelman’s -The Darren Effect. My brother, I., got it for me for Christmas in a stack of other books – 20 odd or so (I think I may have blogged about the stack already as I’ve slowly been making my way through his selections). In any event, the whole stack has its own shelf and so this time, without reading the back or deliberating on a title, I randomly stuck out my arm and picked a book. And boy was my intuitive snatch rewarded. -The Darren Effect- is smart, funny, challenging, engaging and altogether too unknown for this reader to be satisfied.
The book is set in Newfoundland, follows a small network of people as they navigate falling in love, falling into depression, dying, forgiveness and regret. The shifting third person limited narrators – but usually Heather – are open, honest and uncomfortably familiar. A small town heartbreak, a family drama, but without the kinds of cliches you’d expect and without the saccharine writing you’d find annoying. Just simple, sweet, beautiful and totally engulfing. I read the whole thing on the flight from Vancouver to Montreal and am feeling the delicious hangover of a well-spent read.
Recommend! And recommend it to someone you know. I’m a little embarassed that this hasn’t been on my Can Lit radar, but then maybe I’m also just glad to have been so pleasantly surprised. (Thanks, I.)