Friday, April 4, 2014

Everything Breaks by Vicki Grove

My family laughs at me. When I am reading a book, they ask the title, waiting to hear some macabre, dark line. It’s true: I read some pretty grim shit. I don’t like sci fi at all, and dystopia is frequently lost on me, much to their dissatisfaction. High-school love stories really do not rock my boat. But I love a good heartbreaker….WHEN, and that is a big WHEN, the story takes us into authentic resolutions. This weekend midway to my in-law’s farm, I read the closing pages of Everything Breaks. I nodded to myself in the backseat and said out loud, “ That was good.” The audience I forgot I had, Laurie and Alysa, sat in the front seat, critically grinning, ready to pounce on my book choice again—I could hear them waiting to hear the title, opening the door for them to laugh at me. As I waited for the kickback to the title, Laurie said, "I want to know how good it really is; I may want to read it.”

Wait: what? Who knew she was really listening? Like really listening? Turning past joking and into curiosity? 

Everything Breaks is that good. I loved it. And I think Laurie would really like it too. In fact I can think of a number of readers who might like or love it. 

High-schooler Tucker has three close friends. As they prepare to make their grand entrance to their end-of-the-year junior bonfire, he drinks too much and can’t drive as planned. Needing to expel what he drank, he barfs by the side of the road while his buddies drive on to the bonfire. Unfortunately they too had been drinking, make a critical error on the road, and die in a fiery, brutal accident. The junior class is devastated, but Tucker can’t even figure out how to put one foot in front of the other, not to mention make sense of the tragedy.

Author Vicki Grove wisely instills a solid character to help Tucker find some footsteps. Including Greek mythology works very effectively in this story, and Ms. Beetlebaum uses her adult smarts and experiences to do a little walking with rather than talking to Tucker. 

I hope Laurie reads it. I wonder what she might say about the world of grim living that I seem drawn to if she read this one. She knows life with me is hard and she is usually right about my needing to laugh more, but maybe she is figuring out that I read these books because I am looking for something. Maybe the clues I am searching for help make me find a little more peace in the disequilibrium of living. I started reading books with this goal in mind as a teenager when life was pretty brutal. Seems I am still searching them out. 

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