Thursday, September 13, 2018

(60) Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison



Willa has been walking around in a haze of grief ever since her husband, Ben, died three years ago.  His death was sudden and devastating to the little family.  Ever since Willa has left their teenage son, Jamie, to fend for himself.  She knows that she should do better, but the weight of her grief prevents her from moving forward.  Ben was getting their beach house ready for the season when he passed away in his sleep.  Willa hasn't been back since, but she knows she has to get the beach house ready to sell.  She heads out on a late spring day and finds their beach house left exactly as it was the day Ben died.  The same soda in the fridge, the same unfinished book on the table, the same clothes in the closet.  Willa also finds a house in desperate need of cleaning and fresh paint.  Her friend Kristin and her daughter come to help.  As does Willa's son, Jaimie, but it is Ben's ghost that has the biggest impact on Willa's experience.  She sees his ghost, can carry on a conversation with him, but he is asking her to do the most difficult thing of all - let him go and move on.  Will she be able to do as he asks?

Every Time You Go is more of an emotional read than I was expecting to find.  Losing my husband like that is just something that I can't even fathom, which is why I think that Willa's grief was so easy to understand.   She knows that she that her relationship with Jamie could have been permanently damaged by her grief, but she is trying to make repairs to their relationship.  The author takes turn telling the story from Willa's viewpoint and Jamie's.  You get to see both sides of this strained relationship, but always keep in mind that Jamie is a teen boy.  And well - not the most emotionally intelligent creature, but of course, he did just lose his father, too.   In the end, they both grow in their relationship and in their grief.  For a book about grief, Every Time You Go Away ended in on an uplifting, hopeful note.

Bottom Line - "Beach Reads" are not normally known for being overly emotional, heartfelt books. And that isn't a bad thing, usually, beach reads her books are a little more light-hearted, fun even.  Every Time You Go Away was a little more of an emotional read for me and I really liked it.

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I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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