Tuesday, December 29, 2015

April & Oliver

The day before Christmas Eve while I was in our small little town grocery shopping I was struck with fear that I might not have enough to read over the holidays ( never mind my ever-growing to-be-read piles) so I headed to the library and found a couple of books.  Thankfully, because I did need one that night to read!

And that one was April & Oliver by Tess Callahan, a debut novel that had had read mixed reviews.  I
had a bit of a time actually getting into it and it wasn't until about halfway through the novel that it really began to peak my interest.  That being said, I ended up really liking the book.

The novel began with the tragic death of April's younger brother in a one car accident, where Buddy happened to be driving April's car.  Of course, April was terribly grief-stricken and wondered if the accident was somehow her fault (were the brakes faulty? etc.).   At the funeral was April's best childhood friend and first cousin, Oliver, who she had not had contact with for years. Oliver had returned to their childhood community home (where April still lived) with his fiancee to attend law school at Columbia.  April had not gone on to college, but remained home working in bars and getting hooked up with "bad boys".  She helped care for her grandmother and was currently involved with TJ.  Oliver's return to the area brought up all the lingering, smoldering feelings for each other that they had never acted on. And Oliver firmly believes that he is committed to his fiancee.

The story brings up lots of old secrets, while events occurring stir things up.  It is a story of longing and grief for much.

April asked her grandmother about a story that she had told her when a man had kissed her many years ago.  Although she didn't tell her grandmother, the story evoked feelings that April had for Oliver. Her grandmother told her:

"Remember him, April.  Even when you can't picture his face anymore, you owe each other prayers.  And I'm not talking about sappy, sentimental stuff.  Or fantasy, either.  You pray for the hardest moments in his life, years down the line, when he's in a foxhole, or his child is sick, of he finds he has cancer.  No one escapes calamity, but a kiss like that can last you your whole life."

"I'm not saying that you think about it all the time.  It just leaves you different than it found you."
I liked how the story ended (no, I'm not telling).  It was a good read.

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