At first I thought I am reading a collection of short stories.
I met Grace in the first chapter, and became quite intrigued by her pursuit. I was absorbed with her curiosity, care for, and attention to a total stranger and imagined she could help this total stranger, guy, person, a broken soul utilizing her knowledge of human psychology. Then I found the author had other plans for them. A love story crafted with pauses at the right moments, to keep the reader hanging and wanting to continue reading. Pity that Grace, despite having good intentions, was not able to mend this guy's soul, and her soul broke in the process as well.
Then I read Annie's story. A tall, slender, beautiful young girl, independent, strong, ambitious actress. This girl will go places, I thought. She'd be a sensational success in theater and becomes an overnight success, I thought. Annie encounters and accommodates a run away kid in her house with no curiosity to know who she is, why she is in New York, where she is from... The unexpected turn of events leads the two girls share the stories of their lives, not entirely with honesty. Annie, however doesn't let the humanity of this connection overpower her. She disconnects from the bond she has established with the girl and her boyfriend, shortly after the girl's uncle, his father finds them and comes to take them back to the family farm. As soon as they are gone, and before the void get to her she leaves for an audition in Los Angeles. Where she encounters her second opportunity to feel in a Lesbian relationship. This one also doesn't sustain the turn of the events.
Then comes Mitch, like Grace a psychologist, but with a very different approach towards his subjects. He is reluctant to get involved outside of the framework and mandate of the profession. He encounters pain, fear, despair, and anger in his patients and knows he needs to reach out to them but falls short in doing so. It's not hard to see why he thinks he is failure.
The author reveals Grace, Annie and Mitch in present time, then reveals their connection through stories of their past.
It is truly sad to see how in author's point of view both indifference, and care in another person's well being has the same ending. That either we fail to connect or we fail to sustain the connection.
Note this book is:
Amazon.ca Editors' Pick: Best Books of 2012
for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction
Prize, and selected as an Oprah's Book Club Summer Reading Pick