Julia has never been one to surrender without a fight, but when she receives a devastating diagnosis, she has a decision to make.
Even after thirty years, she can still see her mother slowly fading away with every dose of chemo, every round of radiation, and every lost shred of hope. No, she won't do it... not to her family... and not to herself!
Without warning, she packs up her belongings and disappears, leaving behind a life that, by all accounts, had been as perfect as they come, and a distraught family full of questions.
Finding solace in a beach house in Northern California turns out to have its complications though. While only a handful of other residents share the tiny beach community, each one has brought along their individual baggage. All Julia wants is to be left alone, but that simply does not seem to be an option, especially when there's a persistent bird that declares her to be his new best friend.
Haunted by the shadows of the past, Julia is struggling to cope with the present. Will she have the strength to do this alone and eventually follow through with her plan? Will her family, divided by mixed reactions to being abandoned, come together to try and track her down? And what is the deal with that pelican of hers?
Only time will tell - and time is the one thing Julia does not have...
“A beautiful and emotional novel of love, hope, and the sacrifices we make to protect those closest to us.”
"An outstanding novel about a topic that is rarely dealt with in such an emotional, sensitive, and deeply moving way. I just couldn't stop reading!"
Plot: The plot of a wife or mother wordlessly leaving her family has been often-used by the masters: this trope is present in Anne Tyler's Ladder of Years, Elizabeth Berg's Pull of the Moon, and Kate Chopin's The Awakening. This book pulls readers into Julia's complex life and her decision to leave her family rather than allow them to watch her fade away from cancer.
Prose: Naidoo's prose is comprised of well-constructed sentences that flow smoothly and help set the moderate pace of this novel. The author spends much time in Julia's mind among her thoughts, wishes, and fears, and this causes readers to invest more in the character's life and decisions.
Originality: While this story presents a classic theme and dilemma that is often portrayed in women's fiction, the addition of Julia's decision to suffer through her dying days without treatments or family is both original and important to the development of the book.
Character Development: The characters are well-defined and possess unique voices. Through their thoughts, the reader learns their of the stories that run between and connect them. The characters' dialogue is one of the strongest points of this book and the development of these strong, but realistically-flawed women will help readers connect to the story and enjoy each page.
Date Submitted: August 11, 2018