Simon & Schuster, May 2014
Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.
I picked up the latest novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings because I loved the movie version of The Descendants. I’ve been reading a lot of non-crime novels this year in my quest to avoid burnout, and while I don’t write about all of the non-crime books I read, this one deserves special mention.
What stuck out most about this story was the tone: it’s a quick read with slightly absurd humor, which is not what I expected in the story of a mother grieving the recent death of her son in an avalanche accident. Hart Hemmings gets the weird feelings that hit you at different times when you’re grieving, and the horrible and funny things that you say as you’re trying to cope. Sarah is in her early forties living in Breckenridge Colorado, hosting a type of infomercial that plays in resort hotel rooms, and living with her widowed father and spending time with her friend Suzanne who’s coping with divorce. There’s one more main character in the story whose identity I won’t call out in this post because I believe it’s best to go into this story blind.
Hart Hemmings is good at dialogue and getting relationships right in the short time frame of this novel, and I’m not surprised that this is being made into a movie. My only quibble with the story is that every once in awhile a line of dialogue seems just too perfectly insightful, but it’s not an egregious problem– and it’s an issue I have with lots of books.