Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Sunshine When She's Gone by Thea Goodman

When Veronica Reed wakes up one frigid January morning, two things are “off”—first of all, she has had a good night’s sleep, which hasn’t happened in months, and second, both her husband and her baby are gone. Grateful for the much-needed rest, Veronica doesn’t, at first, seriously question her husband’s trip out to breakfast with baby Clara. Little does she know, her spouse has fled lower Manhattan, with Clara, for some R&R in the Caribbean.

Told through alternating points of view, The Sunshine When She's Gone explores the life-changing impact of parenthood on a couple as individuals and as partners. Thea Goodman brings us into intimacies made tense by sleep-deprivation and to losses and gains made more real by acknowledging them. Here is the story of a couple pushed to the edge and a desperate father’s attempt give them both space to breathe. 

I'm sure you've heard it thousands of times "Parenting is the hardest job you'll ever have." It's true though.  I never realized parenting would be so hard.  I have teenagers - what I wouldn't give to go back to when they were little.  It doesn't get any easier, you just face different challenges.
In The Sunshine When She's Gone, Goodman takes us on a journey through two individuals as they struggle with their new bundle of joy and responsibility.  Veronica is still depressed after giving birth six months earlier to baby Clara.  No matter what John does, it's not enough.  So he decides to let her sleep in one morning and take Clara for a walk.

Before he realizes what he has done, he and Clara are on a plane bound to Barbados.  When Veronica awakens, she figures John took Clara to his moms.  But as the days pass and the two of them consistently miss one another's calls, they begin to realize what they missed when they were single, when they were childless and they make some surprising, not always sound, decisions.  

Told through both points of view, alternating back and forth, The Sunshine When She's Gone is riveting.  I wasn't sure how it was going to play out, but it was very interesting to see how Veronica and John perceived things and what the consequences would be for their actions.  A debut novel, Goodman has penned a solid novel and I look forward to reading what she writes next.

*I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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