Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Sunshine When She's Gone

by Thea Goodman
April 24-May 1, 2013

My speedy reading streak continues. I polished off this one in a week. Can't remember the last time I did that, but to be fair, Sunshine was only 225 pages. I also had that Bill Withers song stuck in my head for the past week. Only this book is the exact opposite ... there was Sunshine When She's Gone. Withers sings about how sad and lonely he is without his love, but in this case, Veronica finds herself more than happy when her husband and daughter leave her for the weekend.

Suffering from severe post-partum depression and loss over the emergency hysterectomy that followed the birth, Veronica is surprised to wake up refreshed after an unexpected good night's sleep. Her husband John wakes up early and decides to take six-month old Clara out in the cold January morning to a diner for breakfast. When he finds the diner closed, he hops in a cab for the airport and onto a flight to Barbados. He just wants to get warm. What follows is two days of phone tag, lies and Veronica's unexpected pleasure at having some alone time. For the reader, it's nothing but tension and worry that the baby will get home safely before getting any sicker than she already is.

I kept waiting for the plot to come to a point, but the storyline was so contrived, and the author appeared to give up at the end. I mean, really, who randomly decides to go to the Caribbean, and in what world would he have even gotten through customs with no luggage and a ticket purchased the same day?? I know that I read novels to escape reality, but they need to be somewhat believable too. The book was short, and in the end I'm grateful for that, but another 50 pages could have helped explain these unsympathetic characters a little more. Although maybe that was Goodman's intentions; to leave the reader feeling as shallow as this couple.

I really want to give this book two stars, but I have to give credit to the author for her beautiful prose. A reluctant three stars it is.

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