I had purchased this novella a few months back when a bunch of authors and reviewers were gushing about it. I had honestly forgot it was on my kindle (so many books) until I was in a book slump and was looking for something different. Ever since I finished it, I’ve been kicking myself that I didn’t do it sooner. Mary Ann Rivers packs an emotional wallop in 120 pages. Get your tissues ready.
Carrie West is a middle aged librarian leading an average life but comfortable life. There’s nothing special in her life, but nothing very exciting either. It hadn’t previously bothered Carrie that she hadn’t had a relationship in years, but now she feels the walls closing in. To amuse herself, and commiserate with the other lonely people out there, she reads the personals online a la Craigslist. One day she comes across one that piques her interest:
I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park. Kissing only. I won’t touch you below the shoulders. You can touch me anywhere. No dating, no hookups. I will meet with you for as long as you meet me, so if you miss a Wednesday we part as strangers. No picture necessary, we can settle details via IM. Replay back with “Wednesdays Only” in the subject line.
On a whim she responds, rationalizing that the person posting will probably never respond. But Brian Newburgh does respond. They arrange to meet and before her good sense can pull her back from this crazy adventure, she meets him and begins the journey that will change both of their lives.
Carrie quickly realizes their mutual attraction but Dan is adamant about his inability to further the relationship beyond their Wednesdays even when he readily admits he wished he could. I spent a good deal of the book puzzling in my head what his ultimate secret was and when it was revealed, I was surprised even though looking back it was pretty obvious.
I think what I loved most was watching their choices unfold. Was it fair to demand more of another person when you already accepted the relationship parameters at the beginning? Individually, what could they/would they live with? It’s rare that a book will elicit actual tears from me, but Carrie and Dan’s candid conversations and aching desire for things to be different had me shedding a few at one point.
It’s hard to write a good novella. Many fail from trying to cram too much in and suffer a rushed story or they write a good story but run out of pages and are then required to slap an ending on thus running the previous effort.
Rivers prose is tight with each sentence carefully constructed to maximize the short amount of pages. The style is excellent reflecting the solitude and melancholy of the main characters. I loved reading every inch of it and will eagerly read any further published works.
I don’t easily give out this grade but it is worth every single word. Go buy it now and check it out for yourself.
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Story Guy
by Mary Ann Rivers
Release Date: July 8, 2013