Here I am, contemplating whether I’m going to start reading this book again, tonight, the only ‘problem’ being that I already read it 3 times, two of them in the last 2 weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I looooove reading, it’s just that I almost never re-read books (except the one time I re-read Pride and Prejudice), because of all the yet unread books out there and on my shelves.
THE book is “The Good Luck Girl” by Kerry Reichs (also known as Leaving Unknown in the US), in case you were wondering :-) Kerry is the daughter of famous crime novel writer and forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs who’s novels the TV show Bones is based upon. The book I’m kinda obsessed about is Kerry’s second novel featuring the protagonist Maeve Connolly, side character in the first novel “Best Day of Someone Else’s Life”. At first I was reluctant to buy the kind of follow-up book, because Maeve didn’t seem to be that great a character from my first impressions, but the comments on Amazon made me buy it nonetheless. And I’m glad I did! This was in August.
Maeve is 26 years old and at first it appears as if she is just sloppy, living on her parents charity. She finished college but doesn’t have a clue what to do next, especially after losing her bar-tending job. But after 60 pages or so I was hooked, although it takes about another 100 pages to truly understand why Maeve is the way she is now. That being, her having had leukemia when she was a freshman in college and losing her best friend and treatment buddy to this disease.
She decides to take a road trip to California with her bird Oliver in her vintage car to revive an old friendship and to prove to herself that she can indeed finish something she has set her mind to, only to find herself stranded in rural Arizona, because her car breaks down close to the town of Unknown. There, she is forced to stay until her car is repaired, which takes much longer than initially anticipated but is not at all unwelcome. Maeve has to find a job which she does in the town’s only bookstore, owned by handsome Noah also known as a famous children’s book author. Of course she falls in love with him throughout the book and it takes them until the end to find their happiness, it is a great journey for her character. Maeve becomes an inspiration to Noah, who eventually writes her her own book “The Girl who Could” which for me may be the simple greatest thing to do.
All the supporting characters add to make Unknown appear to be the greatest town to be living in, because they are a rather small community and thus know and care for each other.
So why is it, that I’ve read this book three times now? – I am not completely sure, but Maeve just seems such a great character, specially after you learn, why she put her life on hold for so long. It has helped me understand my mom a little bit better (it hasn’t made me much more patient so far, I guess nothing will do that to me). Not that she has leukemia, but brain cancer with a way worse prognosis than the girl in this book. I have always moved away when I read the word ‘cancer’ in a story description long before she was diagnosed. And I haven’t changed much in that way, except for this particular book. Having to live with someone who is currently fighting a war against his or her own body is not as terrible as having to do it yourself, but it still is horrible.
I go through a lot of emotions Kerry Reichs addresses in her book, and it feels good to see I am not alone. I am not comparing myself to a cancer patient here, but just the idea of leaving everything behind and going on a road trip, destination nowhere, is a dream, especially when I feel overwhelmed by everything; the pressure of exams, finishing my university degree, not knowing what to do after graduation and not knowing when your mom is going to die or if treatment will work on her. My love for traveling may also have contributed to my obsession with this book, in which sadness is turned into happiness throughout 390 pages. I cried a lot while reading, especially when Reichs describes Maeve’s feelings upon losing her best friend while simultaneously fighting the same disease. I suppose I cannot truly explain my draw to this book, it just makes me feel warm and happy inside when I really feel crappy about everything. It leaves me in awe, because I will probably never find this man who will dedicate a whole book to me, or any similar outburst of creativity. And I will probably also not become an author myself, although I was always drawn to writing and have tried my hand at several stories, all of whom are not really noteworthy.
To finish this, I know that Maeve is only a fictional character, and I am not the kind of girl who fell in love with a boy band member when I was growing up, I would love to be friends with her. We both share a lot of interests like photography, colorful socks and a love for books and eating. I’m also familiar to the urge to run sometimes in order to get rid of all the tension inside of yourself, so I will probably pick up this book soon again to loose myself in it!