Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Mystery
Noah wants to go home. A seemingly easy request from most four year olds. But as Noah’s single-mother, Janie, knows, nothing with Noah is ever easy. One day the pre-school office calls and says Janie needs to come in to talk about Noah, and no, not later, now – and life as she knows it stops.
For Jerome Anderson, life as he knows it has stopped. A deadly diagnosis has made him realize he is approaching the end of his life. His first thought – I’m not finished yet. Once a shining young star in academia, a graduate of Yale and Harvard, a professor of psychology, he threw it all away because of an obsession. Anderson became the laughing stock of his peers, but he didn’t care – something had to be going on beyond what anyone could see or comprehend. He spent his life searching for that something else. And with Noah, he thinks he’s found it.
Soon Noah, Janie and Anderson will find themselves knocking on the door of a mother whose son has been missing for seven years – and when that door opens, all of their questions will be answered.
The premise of this book pulled me in. I have not given much thought about the idea of reincarnation, but it is undoubtedly an interesting topic. What makes it interesting is that not one of us actually knows if it is possible, or what really happens to us after death? This debut novel explores these questions and more.
Janie has always know her son Noah is “different”. He says strange things and has odd habits. As a single mother she is navigating parenthood the best way she knows how to. Noah is complicated and Janie has a desperate desire to help him. She’s been to countless psychologists and is not comfortable with any of the so called answers she’s receiving. When she meets Jerome, she allows herself to cling to a light glimmer of hope that maybe he will be the one to finally help her son.
This book deals with the power of our memories and how they impact our daily lives. It asks profound questions regarding death and the afterlife that are thought provoking and deep. Interspersed throughout are short tales about experiences with reincarnation that I found fascinating. The whole idea of reincarnation itself gave me much to ponder.
Per usual, I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoiling things. I did enjoy this read and thought there was some beautiful writing throughout. However, I wasn’t blown away as much as I was expecting. I had heard great things about this book and Guskin as an up and coming novelist, but unfortunately I was left wanting more. More what exactly? I wanted to relate more to the characters in a sense. Generally I tend to know I really enjoyed a book if I find myself thinking of the characters even when I’m not reading. An attachment of sorts. I didn’t have that here. I can’t quite put my finger on it, I just know that I was anticipating that I would give this book a 4 or maybe even the elusive 5 star review.
Overall rating: 3/5