In between editing jobs, I try to reward myself by reading just for fun. And how rewarding it is when I get to rediscover one of my favorite authors!
Several years ago I read Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, which was riveting, heart-stopping, gut-wrenching… you name it. It took me a long time to stop thinking about this book and then even longer to think I could read another Shriver work, or really, that she could write something else that I would love as much.
But she has. I won’t entertain (or bore) you with a middle school book report of So Much for That; the story’s summary can be easily accessed at any of your online retailers. I can say that it is rich with sensitive topics and deeply personal issues—though Shriver refuses to wallow in any of them—as well as larger, more global concerns that she skillfully weaves into the background.
Her characters felt real, relatable; their dialogue sounded natural; their lives seemed believable. I could see what was coming but couldn’t stop it, no matter how much I wanted things to turn out differently.
It was a painful read, but one that transfixed me; in the author’s own words, “a black but improbably jubilant novel about illness, death, and money.” Once again, Shriver has encouraged her readers (well, me) to wonder: what would I do?
One thing I know I will do is read another Shriver novel.