As I look over my list, I’m struck by how many of them deal with loss and grief.
Lisa Shapiro’s Endless Love deals with the death of a young woman’s lover and how she climbs out of the abyss of that grief. Andrea (I’m pretty sure it’s Andrea) in the first part of the book is a college student in a New England college. Andrea is a loner and a brain. She needs extra money so she starts to tutor, Ryan. Ryan, is a jock theology student.They fall in love, and Ryan dies.
In the second half of the book, Andrea is working in an ad agency, writing copy. She is still a loner and her trust issues are worst then ever. Her parents are divorced and her sister is dealing with severe mental illness. In walks Gwen, her new boss. Gwen is very beautiful and accomplished and has had to start all over again after a massive heart attack nearly took her life.
Both of these women have lots of pain in their past, and don’t trust that love will ever happen again. In spite of themselves they fall in love. It is a very hopeful novel. Bad things, even tragic things, happen to all of us. Lisa Shapiro in Endless Love, helps us to believe that you can find your way back and that love will make it bearable.
This book is about quirky, oddball types who make it. It gives hope to all the quirky oddballs out there and I know that represents legions of us.
Watermark by Karin Kallmaker is also about grief. Rayann and Louisa have been together a long time , they are very happy. An accident takes Louisa, and Rayann must rebuild her shattered life. She has friends, she has family but, she no longer has Louisa, the love of her life. She takes a new job and meets Reese, a young woman who is nothing like Louisa. Louisa was much older, Reese is much younger. Rayann resists Reese, she is still in love with Louisa, but Louisa is dead.
Again this book is about grief and how difficult it is to surmount. It is beautiful and sometimes difficult to read because of the pain the characters are experiencing.
A good novel takes you on a voyage, both of these novels do that. They are not happy voyages but, voyages nonetheless.
You feel for and even with, the characters. Everyone has unresolved pain and issues. Reading about fictitious characters dealing with hard stuff helps to put context and texture to your own baggage. It brings solace and you don’t have to open things up publicly. Novels are cheaper and more fun than psychotherapy, and for most of us, all that is required.