Patti Callahan Henry’s book snuck up on me. I wasn’t overly impressed with her writing when I started the book and I can’t say that I fell in love with the characters or the secondary story (of the main character’s quest to preserve an island off Georgia’s coast) and yet, I finished the book with a lump in my throat.
Amy is happily married to Phil. Her kids, Jack and Molly, are grown; Jack is actually away at college and Molly in her last year of high school. Her world, however, is about to be turned upside down when Jack invites her to the homecoming football game to meet his new girlfriend and her parents. Turns out, the girlfriend’s father, Nick, is Amy’s old college boyfriend. Suddenly Amy’s world turns upside down. Her feelings for Nick (and as it turns out, Nick’s feelings for her) are complicated because of the way their relationship ended. And as Amy starts to question her feelings for her husband and her role as wife and mother, she starts orbiting ever closer to the girl she once was and the way she felt about Nick.
A lot of what happens in Losing the Moon is predictable (although Amy herself might use the word inevitable). The story tracks Amy’s feelings, but also Nick’s. While I wasn’t rooting for any particular outcome, I have to admit to feeling incredibly sorry for both Amy and Nick by the end of their story – even though Henry did a plausible job of explaining Amy’s choices.
I related to this book on quite a few levels- perhaps because I am around the same age as Amy. Her questions (as she cleans her house again) about her place in the world, about her dreams, about her role in her marriage all rang true to me. Is this what I wanted for my life? Who hasn’t asked that on occasion?
And of course Nick is a painful reminder of what she has left behind- not just the loss of his love, but the loss of her youth as well. A conversation she has with her daughter about the passage of time nearly had me bawling.
So, yeah, good book.
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