Anywhere You Are
When Mairie Callahan goes skydiving in the vicinity of Area 51, any X-Files fan worth the salt on her sunflower seeds knows what’s going to happen. The Men In Black will pick the exact time she bails out of the plane to try some experiments. Before Mairie can say, “Mulder, it’s me,” she finds herself on the ground where she was supposed to land, but it’s 1877.
The first person Mairie meets is Jack Delany, a deserter from the Civil War. Jack has come back to Nevada to join the Paiute Indians, whom he considers his brothers. Jack looks to Mairie as the answer to his vision quest, while she just thinks she’s lost (franky, it takes her too long to realized what has happened.) Jack and Mairie go to the Paiute land and talk to Wovoka, the seer whose visions started the Ghost Dance Religion. (This chronology is off by several years; Wovoka did not have his Ghost Dance vision until the late 1880’s.) Mairie gets a sign from Wovoka about an herb that can cure her brother’s cancer. She is desperate to get home.
A government agent has followed Mairie to 1877. This agent – a Navy SEAL – is as sinister as they come and means to eliminate Mairie and Jack before they can make it back. Thanks to the Paiutes, Mairie and Jack do make it back to 1998 without much trouble at all. Now Jack is a stranger in a strange land – but the government is still aware of his and Mairie’s existence in the present.
Jack’s reactions to 1998 were awfully matter-of-fact. Nothing seems to faze him with the exception of airplane flight. He does almost get in trouble when he watches a man too closely while trying to figure out how a urinal works, but otherwise he gets along fine. I would have liked a little more astonishment on his part.
Anywhere You Are felt very flat and lifeless. Mairie and Jack were rather bland and not very interesting. The secondary characters did not engage me at all. Mairie’s brother Bryan was introduced as having cancer and she spent a lot of time worrying about him, I never felt much of anything toward him, probably because he disappears for the entire middle of the book. Bryan’s lover, Marc, was a flamboyant gay stereotype. The Paiute Indians were portrayed in so saintly a matter I wanted to pin halos on them all. Despite the government conspiracy villains, I never really felt much sense of danger. Jack and Mairie eluded the Men In Black so easily, I felt cheated – I really wanted more action and adventure. I closed the book with a strong desire to yawn.
I wanted very much to like Anywhere You Are, because I love time-travel, but overall blandness ruined this one for me. Also put me down as a fan of plain ordinary names – how do you pronounce Mairie – Mary or Marie? Inquiring minds want to know. I’d also like to second my fellow reviewer Andrea Pool’s plea. Avon, please get some better proofreaders! Spell checkers are wonderful things, but they can’t replace the human eye. It’s rip cord – not chord and it’s landing site – not sight. Nothing jerks me out of a wonderful reading-induced reverie like blatant misspellings, although in this instance, there was little reverie!