Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The Widow’s Season
From the back cover:
Sarah McConnell’s husband had been dead for three months when she saw him in the grocery store.
What does a woman do when she’s thirty-nine, childless, and completely alone for the first time in her life? Does it mean she’s crazy to think she sees her late husband beside a display of pumpkins? Or is it just what people do, a natural response to grief that will fade in time? That’s what Sarah McConnell’s friends told her, that it was natural, would last a season, and then fade away.
But what if there was another answer? What if he was really there? They never found the body, after all. What if he is still here somehow, and about to walk back into her life?
Sometimes I just don’t understand myself. I mean, I read the back cover. What did I expect??
But by the time I got to the end of the book I was feeling a little pissy about the whole thing. Joanne not-so-recently asked “this one sounds like something I would absolutely love, but I gotta know, does it stay in the whole emotional struggle of the main character territory or does it morph into romancey crap? And was the ending satisfying or saccharine?”
No, it didn’t morph into romancey crap, but there was a fair bit of “is he real or is he a ghost” crap, and “if he is a ghost, why is he there” crap. Although it took a fair amount of time to reach that point. The first half is mostly “is she going to pull herself together and move on with her life, or not.” Then it’s “okay, she’s moving on, although not necessarily in the direction I would’ve gone.” Followed by a few “whoas.” And while the end isn’t saccharine, there was a definite “fuck me, why did I just read this” moment.
Which isn’t to say this isn’t a good book. It is. After all, I read the whole thing. In a day. I thought it was engaging and well-written, and Sarah’s confusion about her life was both understandable and believable. I just don’t like “maybe it’s a ghost” stories. At all. Not because they’re scary, but because I don’t like the mind games. And because I’m not going to believe in a ghost until one walks up to me and says, “Howdy, I’m Caspar.”