Some books insist that you read slowly, that you savor each word and each turn of phrase, appreciating the way in which the author has crafted the story. This is one of those books. Kelle Groom’s background in poetry is highly visible throughout the story, which also carries a narrative that weaves in and out of time, revealing the years that Groom lived without knowing the truth behind her son’s early death.
As a teenager, Groom became heavily involved with alcohol. Before she was twenty, she became pregnant with a son, Tommy, who she gave to her aunt and uncle to raise. Fourteen months later, Tommy died. Throughout the rest of her life Groom wonders what went wrong during those fourteen months, whether or not she could have prevented the cancer that took his life, and how to create a stable life for herself free of alcohol and regret.
Title and Cover: The title suits the story perfectly, revealing the poetic nature of the writing but still hitting on a scene in the novel that is important to Groom. Unique, this is a title and cover that should catch attention of shoppers at bookstores.
Plot Structure: The plot is more Groom’s emotional journey than actual events that occur, but of course there is a timeline. This timeline is a little difficult to follow sometimes, as the story jumps in and out of time often and sometimes without warning. This doesn’t take away from the beauty of the prose, though, and is easy enough to recover from once you get your bearings. Staying in a constant state of wonder does coincide with the experiences that Groom is retelling, so this jumpy structure works on a larger level, though it makes readers work (which isn’t a bad thing).
Overall, this is a bittersweet story of a woman who makes the journey from floundering alcoholic teenager to talented, understanding woman. Along the way Groom shares the experiences that teach her to forgive others, to forgive herself, and to open her life to the poignancy that comes with the understanding of how the lowest points in our lives can define who we become.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.