Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel

This was not so much the story of a romance rather than the story of an internal struggle resolved.  It was slow to start and I often found myself feeling a little dumb in regards to the philosophe references (though I comfort myself with the fact that I know the term philosophe), but ultimately I enjoyed this book quite a bit.  I was touched by the characters and how each one coped with the extraordinary and the everyday matters that presented themselves throughout the story.

There were great moments of crisis, but they were handled well so as not to be overly melodramatic.  I greatly appreciate that as it's one of the things I find most obnoxious about books  in which two characters become romantically involved.  Too often it seems that circumstances beyond the romancers are the main reason they end up together, rather than two people meeting, dating, falling in love, and choosing to be together (or at least two of the four).  Of course that would probably be a fairly boring book and on e of many reasons I will never be a successful writer....I digress.  There is an absent character who could have very easily been vilified but was, instead, treated as someone more than his actions and that is something I also greatly appreciate.

A small town was the setting of the story but it was actually smaller and larger than that since the book takes place mostly on two street and within the overly analytical minds of the main characters (who specialize in literature, academia, and religion).  It was a very subtle recognition that not everyone is suited to know everything, and that most of us bias our world of knowledge with the only facts we want to know anyway.
The book concludes with a slightly implausible ending, in my opinion, but good all the same; especially for a girl who is seduced by "The Flea." 

Synopsis by Publishers Weekly

A romance evolves in the wake of a domestic shooting in Kimmel's intelligent and compassionate debut novel, which brings two friends of one of the victims together in a small Indiana town. Amos Townsend is the male protagonist, a 40-ish preacher who counseled the late Alice Baker-Maloney as her frayed marriage degenerated into a fatal confrontation with her controlling husband, Jack. Amos remains tormented by his attraction to Alice and his inability to have prevented the tragedy. Meanwhile, bookish Langston Braverman has returned home after dropping out of her Ph.D. program following an affair with an academic colleague and subsequent nervous breakdown. The two clash after Langston's mother, AnnaLee, orders her to abandon her literary projects to care for Alice's two orphaned daughters; Amos accuses Langston of being unfit for the job when both girls continue to exhibit a bizarre variety of compulsive, religiously oriented behaviors. The girls' crisis continues to escalate, leading to a series of melodramatic scenes in which Amos and Langston are forced to confront their own demons. There are some winning moments as the protagonists move toward a romance, although things are hindered somewhat by the sluggish pace in the early going, as Kimmel (A Girl Named Zippy) meanders through scenes detailing smalltown Midwestern life and as she delves into the pasts of the two leads. Still, she proves a wise, compassionate and often very witty storyteller whose affection for her characters is contagious. Pin It

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