Sunday, March 8, 2015

Before, and after.

Ok. I admit it.  There are some authors that I find, and I can't wait until they release their next book. There are so many different reasons to enjoy authors - some are pure escape and almost a guilty pleasure (like Nora Roberts), some are well crafted novels of a different genre (crime novelists like Peter Robinson and Michael Connelly), some chick lit (like SAA), some fantasy, some YA, some big "L" literary novels that help keep me sharp.  A good book transports us somewhere, teaches us something, makes us laugh, cry, release emotion, rethink or have a new thought. 

Ever since I read Garden Spells, I have really enjoyed SAA books.  A little bit of magical realism, some great characters, some quirkiness.  They are quick reads, and after I turn the last page, I always seem to have a whimsical smile on my face.  This latest book was no different.  Of course, now that I have read it, I have no idea how long I will need to wait until she releases her next novel. Oddly enough, my favourite authors also have their own lives to lead, and not just to entertain their fans.

This was a good book - this continued the story of the Waverly sisters (from Garden Spells) and we catch up with them several years after the first book… in the weeks leading up to the 'first frost'.  For the sisters and their kin, this is a time of transition - from summer to fall, harvest, waiting for things to happen, waiting for Halloween and then next phases.  It is a time of anticipation, and heightened senses and tensions, and a time for confrontations that hopefully lead to communication.  Very quick read, perfect for Spring Break.  The biggest problem of taking popular books out from the library is the quick turnaround time… American Gods has been bumped for a week.

One quote really struck me from this novel - that moment in your life where there is a "before" and where there is "after". In this novel, part of that happens when the first frost happens.  I would need to leaf through the book to find the exact quote (which I may add later on, no promises though since I loaned the book to my mom on a quick turnaround promise before it is due).

For me, I can think of several turning points in my life.  This idea has stayed with me since I finished this book because it did capture an idea that I have returned to a few times in the last several years.  Having kids definitely changes you, in mostly positive ways. I am definitely a less selfish person than I was, hopefully more rounded, although definitely not less busy.  When I think about before, and after, now I think about Ken and I standing on the line heading in the OR at Children's Hospital, the night that B had his operation to manage hydrocephalus.  We handed him over to our neurosurgeon, it was about 11:00pm, he had a large "x" sharpied on his left side (that was where they would place the shunt), and we were both terrified for our son.   This was truly the moment "before" and "after" for me.  So many things in my life led up to that moment, and so much has happened since.  I am still the same person, but in so many ways, I am not quite the same person I was.  I still value so many of the same things, but moments like that change you and leave their mark.  I am so grateful for the outcomes we have had, for the strength of the bond that I have with my husband, and for my two, happy and healthy children.  This was a moment, where there was the life we knew, and the life we would know.  There have been a few moments like that for me, and for us as a couple, and that is the power of literature to help you remember, and to help articulate some of these moments, even if the language and circumstances are different, to capture part of the feeling and the impact.

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