Everyone’s a protagonist in this Boston-based tale of relationships between men and women.
Bartender Abby starts the narrative on New Year’s Eve, wistfully waiting for her boyfriend to make the marriage move after four years of togetherness.
Wannabe artist Maggie Monahan follows, escaping a not-so-great husband in California to nurse wounds (and gin up her career aspirations) back home in Massachusetts. Cad and adjunct professor Nathaniel Harte first enters the plot disheveled, hung over, and in need of a life re-do as he admits that Abby is definitely not the love of his life.
All three, in fact, share a commonality: Each is looking for someone to take care of him/her and solve problems. And that’s how the plot plays out. An unwanted pregnancy for Abby forces her to re-think her relationship and return home to New Hampshire to run her uncle’s restaurant. In need of a salary, Maggie finds an aesthetic lift in becoming a department store cosmetics consultant and re-connects with high school pal Nathaniel. He, in turn, loses his job at Old Colony Community College because of co-ed bedroom antics, and belatedly realizes that he’s become his alcoholic father.
The writing grabs; the dialogue’s crisp and real. Who wouldn’t respond to the last sentence, as Abby delights in new daughter Josie: “Her [new year’s] resolution: To count her blessings every day on her daughter’s fingers and toes.” And characters are well delineated from each other, through their conversations, descriptions, and behaviors. However, the author rushes the denouement and the ending; we’re left wanting to know and to experience just a bit more about the characters’ transformations in order to believe.
The life lessons learned here by the protagonist are all too real, thanks to the author’s insistence on authentic characters and conversations. It’s easy to personally identify with every character’s situation, and hope that those positive lessons rub off on our lives.
Reviewed by Barbara Jacobs for IndieReader.or IndieReader.