Who wrote this book and when?
Brad Barkley in 2004.

Has there been a film version?
No.

Who are the main characters?
Alison – a widow who hasn’t been able to properly grieve for her husband,
Sarah – Alison’s older sister, a dance teacher
Mr. Kesler – a habitual liar who loves records, he plays music for the dancing lessons at Sarah’s
Max – a munitions expert, Mr. Kesler’s son, he hates his father
Mr. Rossi – an elderly and overweight man who is a trivia expert

What’s it about?
Two years after her husband’s death, Alison still can’t bring herself to move back in to her house and get on with her life. She lives with her sister’s family, helping with dance lessons and trying to befriend people without getting too close to them. When Sarah’s husband, Bill, shows them an old and broken down Corvette he bought years ago and is planning on getting rid of, Alison sees it as a possible way of dealing with her grief. She commits to rebuilding it and sets the finishing day as her goal of being done with grief. Along the way, she befriends Mr. Rossi – a trivia guru, and becomes involved with Max, a man good at blowing things up. She also becomes entangled in other people’s problems: Max and his father’s animosity towards each other, Mr. Kesler’s conundrum as his lies come to light for what they are, and her sister and Bill’s problems conceiving.

How did this book make my list?
I just grabbed it off the shelf at MLL.

Do I recommend you read this book?
It’s very good. Not deep but good.

Has it won any awards?
No, but the author has won several.

Favorite quotes:
“She looked out the open door of the garage toward the lake, the small distant puddles glimmering like nickels.” – p 70

“Everyone seemed to believe that change was good – she’d seen the idea expressed on bumper stickers – but why? Change was just the world gearing up to get along fine without you.” – p 156

Anything else?
The author of this book is a professor at Frostburg State University.

Personal thoughts:
I needed to read a book that I had never heard of, to give myself a break from all the big name classic authors and novels – things you “HAVE TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE” sort of thing. I was pleasantly surprised with this story. It dealt with both death (Alison’s husband, the deaths in the book, the revelation of Mr. Kesler’s false past) and life (Sarah and Bill trying to conceive, the Corvette’s restoration, Lem and Pammy) and even eternity (the evangelical car parts salesman). And the thing is, these topics weren’t just discussed or alluded to or hidden behind illustrations and archetypes but expressed through life and the ending and beginning of it. Alison is a character we can all relate to in her loss – we’ve all lost something. And Alison’s journey is a wonderful example of how to deal with it.

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