Eric and Glynnie go from butting heads to grudging friendship to something more...
Eric used to think he'd live forever, but not any more. As football season starts, he hopes he can live normally again after the death of his father, but his refusal to face his grief results in anger at his coach, fights with his sister, resenting added responsibilities, and disillusionment with football. It takes a special relationship with a girl dealing with the divorce of her parents to see he is angry with his father for dying and the way to get through grief is by grieving.
My Review: 5/5
Let me start by saying that I loved this book. It's one of those satisfying, feel-good stories that leaves you with a sense of closure at the end. The characters are your average, everyday people who could easily be family, friends or neighbors. They've just lost the patriarch of their family and although life goes on, they will never be the same. I was touched by their story and even brought to tears, as they struggle to put the pieces of their lives back together. This story has the ability to touch all hearts because loss is universal, it's a language we all speak. And even though grieving is an essential part of overcoming loss, we don't all willingly give ourselves over to it. What then occurs is the inability to heal properly and move on.
The story is told from the point of view of Eric Nielsen, a 17 year old boy who's lost his father to a drunk driver. It's been 4 months and Eric hasn't allowed himself to fully address his grief. Instead, he's kept his feelings bottled up. This results in difficulty dealing with relationships with his mother, sister, best friend, new football coach and ex-girlfriend, as well as identifying and confronting his feelings about his dad. Can you really be angry at someone for dying? He finds fault with everyone around him - his mom smothers him, sister is a brat, best friend is too upbeat, new coach rides him too hard and this bothersome girl, Glynnie, is getting under his skin. He can't seem to find his footing as he tries to navigate through this new life without his dad. Football played a huge part in their relationship, does he even love football anymore? When the realization dawns that life is NOT fair and that we often get cheated, anger, insecurity and confusion are sure to follow.
His dad encompassed everything a good father should be; ever-present, loving, supportive, invested, dependable. You can imagine the giant void his death has left in Eric's life. Maybe you don't have to imagine. Though I haven't grieved the loss of a parent, yet, I could identify with him, with all the emotions he experiences. I grieved over the loss of the safety and security of my family when my parents divorced, when I was a young girl. This experience was at the forefront of my thoughts and what I drew upon to help me relate to Eric. This is exactly what happens with Glynnie. She and Eric find in each other a kindred spirit.
This book felt like a breath of fresh air. It left me with the kind of satisfaction I would feel at the end of an episode of Little House on the Prairie. There was a sweet innocence to it that I hadn't realized I missed. After reading the synopsis I was afraid that this book might be too serious, that it might be depressing. It addresses some serious subjects; loss of a parent, depression, conflict with family, jealousy, the grieving process. But, these issues are handled delicately, as to avoid bringing the reader down. The story never gets dark. In fact, by the end of the book, I felt uplifted! My only complaint about this book is that it ended.
This is a story I recommend for everyone. Young, old, male or female. A beautiful story to remind us that if we have loved, that love is ours to keep. We can keep those we've lost alive in our hearts and memories and pay tribute to them as we push on and live our lives to the fullest.
The book is now out in ebook and paperback and is available at:
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