A reader of this blog sent me this book recommendation today. Sent rather cryptically with nothing but my own blog post attached to it along with the the book title. Later I saw it again on my Feedly feed under The Rumpus, a site I read regularly. Skimming through the Rumpus post by Eileen Drennen I am stopped in my eyeball scanning tracks by this paragraph:
“Then a trip to my hometown gave me a chance to revisit the past with new eyes. I wondered which moments make you who you are, and if it’s ever possible to know while they’re unfolding. When I ran into my first love at a high school reunion – the father of the son I gave up for adoption – I was surprised at how calm I felt. My neck wasn’t prickling with the anger I’d nursed for almost 40 years, despite the many times we’d talked or made tentative peace. He reached out nervously to shake my hand, but I hugged his shoulder instead. In that moment, I saw him not as the boy who repeatedly broke my heart but as who he’d always been: a guy perpetually three steps behind his best intentions. My worry over whether he’d finally do right by our son – telling his other kids about him, standing up at last to take responsibility for his part, making amends where possible – eased. I’d spent so many years waiting for him to change that I’d lost sight of how little it ultimately mattered. I had changed. Something inside had shifted. I’d let the bulk of my anger go…“
Holy moly. This hits too close to home for me. I am momentarily thrown back into the many, many years, I spent pining for my daughters father hoping that this day, one day, some day he would do right by me, his daughter, even tell his other children about our daughter. I am trapped in an odd place reading the Rumpus post while the words switch from my black and white computer screen to images of my past with him, around him, writing to him, wanting him, crying over him. I gasp for air, my eyes begin to hurt from holding back tears.
I click over to Amazon and find this review from Booklist:
At 24, Lisa Nelson is a waitress in a New York City diner and a hopeful singer-songwriter with a talent for the guitar and a gifted voice. She is in love with Gabriel Luna, a famous musician and elusive playboy more than a decade her senior. When she becomes pregnant, and he doesn’t want her to have the baby, she faces a monumental decision. What will happen if she goes against his wishes and raises their child alone in a world of poverty and struggle? Alternately, where will her life go if she puts her career and her desire to please Gabriel first? Lisa decides to have an abortion, but many years later, famous in her own right, she looks back and records this story of what-ifs as a message to the child she never had. In this first novel, Carson, herself a singer-songwriter, commits her artistry to paper, creating a lyrical story of love, longing, and acceptance. Beautifully imagined and authentically told, the result is a deeply meaningful exploration of an often painful subject. –Cortney Ophoff
Oh gods. Alternate universes, those what-ifs. Yeah. I know that as well.
Needless to say, I bought the book and am reading it today. You can buy it on Amazon.