Desert Isle Keeper
Now That You Mention It
Are you a fan of books where women find themselves to be stronger than they ever imagined? What about if we throw in family situations that force them out of their comfort zone? Or have them confronting the past they’ve been running from? What if the happily-ever-after is grounded in reality rather than fantastical situations? If you ticked yes to all of those, then hooooo buddy do I have the book (and author) for you! Kristan Higgins is a master of all of the above, and Now That You Mention It is another entry into her exceptional canon.
Growing up on an island smaller than your thumb off the coast of Maine, Nora’s whole goal in life was to leave. After winning a competitive and prestigious scholarship to Tufts, she did just that. However, the reality is that all she left was the physical location. The realities of that life, how her childhood shaped her, and the people she’s still connected to in that place are present in ways she’d rather not admit. Nora is the hero of this story and it’s her head we’re in throughout it. She grounds us both in this world and in her struggle, and I simply adored spending time with this beautiful, bruised, strong and shaken lady.
When we first meet Nora, she’s just been hit by a car. Not her best day. But it’s about to get even worse, because she overhears her ER physician boyfriend hitting on a nurse while she – Nora – is semi-conscious on the gurney before him. So yeah, it’s definitely not her best day. Recovering from the accident in Boston becomes emotionally impossible, so she gets on the ferry back to the island she left and the life she’s been ignoring. Greeting her are her austere mother, her niece, and an absolute shedload of painful memories. You see, when she won the scholarship, she beat out one of the golden children of the island, whose life spiraled painfully out of control after that event. In a way that only a small town can, Nora is blamed for his choices instead of celebrated for her successes. The fact that she has been gone for so long has only added insult to injury, as she is now perceived as rising above her station in a way which practically negates her citizenship from the island.
So, in other words – it’s not the warmest of homecomings.
Adding to the joy, Nora’s sister (the mother of the aforementioned niece) is in jail clear across the country and has dumped her daughter back into her mother’s house. Now that Nora is crashing in the house as well, there is a lot of silent pain in a small space. As Nora’s body heals, she is forced to confront much of that silent pain in both her own life and in her family’s.
I am being intentionally vague here, which may be driving a few of you nuts. But that’s because I want you to experience this world exactly as Ms. Higgins intends you to. There is a calm and lovely unfolding here of both Nora’s authentic self and the life she is slowly creating almost unconsciously. Be assured though, there is a sexy man with a wry sense of humor and quiet strength – a Higgins trademark – and there is definitely a dog.
Something I am comfortable disclosing in the midst of all this meditative text is now funny the book is. I laughed out loud so many times at Nora’s thoughts as well as at her interactions with a newfound gaggle of lady friends. The fact that those friends speak fluent Harry Potter was such a delight that I took a screenshot of a particular passage and texted it to my best friend. “I think we’ve found our fictional people”, was the caption. “YES,” she texted back in huge letters, “how can I meet these people?” Just as in life, there is joy amidst pain, and laughter mixed in with the tears.
Now That You Mention It is, quite simply, a gift, and one I would encourage you to indulge in quickly. Thanks, Ms. Higgins. I can’t wait to see who we get to meet next.