Friday, January 24, 2020

Mini-Reviews: The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes and The Great Unexpected

Masha goes to the community pool every morning and considers going under and not coming back up. She is consumed by grief after the death of her son. One day, she decides to open up just a little to the local eccentric who spends her days at the graveyard. Another woman is consumed with grief as well, although her grief is for something that hasn't happened yet. Alice doesn't know if she will survive after being diagnosed with cancer, and she is desperately looking for some way to care for her teenage son after she is gone.

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes is a sweet story about community carrying us through grief and pain. While tragedy can be isolating, this book reminds us that we can reach out and find people who are willing to be with us in our darkest moments. It didn't draw me in quite as much as Hogan's debut novel The Keeper of Lost Thingsbut we still get to meet quirky characters and experience a story that deals with difficult issues without devastating its reader.

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes
By Ruth Hogan
Crooked Lane Books June 2019
320 pages
Read via Netgalley

Joel was able to bear the nursing home when his wife helped him through each day. When she dies, Joel can't see a reason to continue living. He hates having no control over his life and being told what to do when. His new roommate Frank is a retired soap opera star who loves to charm the people around him. The two men frequently clash, until Frank suggests that they might make some bold choices and take a trip outside the nursing home. Frank and Joel become unlikely friends and decide to have as many adventures as possible in the time they have left.

Dan Mooney does an excellent job of showing the pain and frustration of losing control over your own life. The staff at Joel's nursing home are not cruel, but they are people who are overworked and have to ensure that certain things happen each day. The story was somewhat predictable, but it's always wonderful to read a book that focuses on                                                                                friendship, especially when those friends are                                                                                     septuagenarians! 
The Great Unexpected
By Dan Mooney
Park Row June 2019
368 pages
Read via Netgalley