Warning: There may be some minor spoilers!! I have read 3 chapters so far.
First up, I want to be clear that this book is quite a “first” for me. I don’t usually read books that are so intense in emotions. The book focuses on the hardships that Zoe, aged 40, has had to go through. Nine years of marriage and all that time, trying to have a baby with her husband Max. They’ve spent all their savings, time and energy into this but the pregnancy fails again for the 5th time. Max is exhausted and calls for a divorce. He cannot take it anymore and relapses into alcoholism. He feels like a failure and lives like one too until one day he finds himself saved by the church and becomes a newborn man. To be honest, I find his character quite unattractive to read. I understand that depression can tear you apart and pull you into an abyss deeper than you thought imaginable, but I like reading about strong characters much more.
Then there is Zoe, a music therapist. There is no hiding the fact that she’s desperate to have a baby but putting that aside, she is actually a very charismatic person! She’s optimistic, playful and comes up with crazy ideas like – isn’t a smoking section in a restaurant a little like a peeing section in a pool? Or her theory of, you must order Goobers too (on top of butter popcorn) because a romantic comedy and those are never quite as good without chocolate. She’s a surprisingly fun person once you take her away from the baby issue. The best thing? She doesn’t even flinch when she finds out that Vanessa is a lesbian. Yep – she’s pretty cool!
Then there’s Vanessa. She’s a school counsellor and a self-identified lesbian. We learn a little about her self-discovery in her younger years, how she soon realised that little girls don’t normally think of getting married with their girl best friend so she played along with the rest of girls in her class and said she was crazy about this one boy. This bit was not exactly “WOW” but it was interesting and some parts you would think “I’ve heard that before”. There were a few points that she mentioned that had crossed my mind before. She comes across as being quite logical and sensible and best of all NORMAL! She’s like any person that you might bump into at the shops but she so happened to have a female partner.
The unexpected thing about this book is the way it is written. Jodi has written each chapter from the view of one of the characters. When I first started reading chapter 2, I was like “huh?! Did the font just change?”. She not only dedicates each chapter to one character but the font also changes. It’s an interesting way to write and I haven’t decided yet whether I like it or not. So far, I feel that it splits up the story too much and it loses the flow. Anyway I’ll keep reading to the end.
An interesting part in Vanessa’s chapter:
I remember my mother telling me that, when she was a little girl in Catholic school, the nuns used to hit her left hand every time she wrote with it. Nowadays, if a teacher did that, she’s probably be arrested for child abuse. The optimist in me wants to believe sexuality will eventually become like handwriting: there’s no right way and wrong way to do it. We’re all just wired differently.
It’s also worth noting that, when you meet someone, you never bother to ask if he’s right or left handed.
After all, does it really matter to anyone other than the person holding the pen?