Have you ever read a book that made you feel like you aged 10 years in the two days you read it? That’s how I feel now. I feel older and possibly a little wiser. I feel relief and peace like the characters in the story because I experienced my emotions being wrung out like a dirty rag right along with them. And I am in awe of the author for her ability to write this book.
Reading Promise the Moon by Elizabeth Joy Arnold was an interesting experience. The Elizabeth I know, from my limited perspective of her online, is she is hilarious. She is irreverent and shamefully funny. What draws me most to her blog is her writing ability. I get bored of authors who feel it is their mission in life to teach the world how to write. Just write something yourself. Elizabeth is real. She doesn’t take herself seriously but she isn’t afraid to share her emotions. I was captivated by her story to the ophthalmologist, especially since she wrote it in third person and ended with a cliffhanger. She posted three more times before finally finishing the story which had a happy ending to the horrible reality of Type 1 diabetes complications.
We have had conversations on Twitter and I have commented on her blog. I have sympathized with her while her long awaited for adopted baby had acid reflux. What I was not prepared for was Promise the Moon. This book tugged at my heartstrings from the very beginning and kept pulling until I felt like my heart had been ripped out and stretched like silly putty. The last 100 pages were the most intense and I doggedly kept reading for the silver lining. It was so subtle yet so absolutely beautiful. As the family healed from the suicide of Josh, their Marine husband and father, I healed. Peace was restored in my mind and I forgave the world too. Pieces of the story that haunted me finally made sense at the end. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I want to give it 5 but the f-word was used more than it needed to be.
I still find myself wondering how the Elizabeth I know could have endured writing such a heart wrenchingly real story. What I loved most about the story was how real it was. There were some mysteries to solve but not in a literary I-have-to-keep-the-reader’s-attention sort of way. It was real life with real life lessons learned. Real healing and acceptance. It was beautiful. A book I cannot imagine myself reading again for at least a year. It was too good and too painful and I would have to take a deep breath before reliving it. I hope authors aren’t offended when I say I could never read their book again. It’s one of the most sincere compliments I can give a book.
Tomorrow I will pick up her book, Pieces of My Sister’s Life. I had to special order these books from another city because my library doesn’t have them. The email that the book was at the library came in yesterday. Heath just said, “It’s been nice knowing you!” Yep, there goes another two days as I immerse myself in the next one. I really hope it’s not as emotionally raw as the one I just finished but I kind of think it will be. Which is not a bad thing. I like the introspection that comes from that kind of novel.