Sometimes I go with my gut feeling and pick up an unknown author (someone I have never heard of or read before) with the hope that the book would charm me but also with the accompanying dread that the book would bore me. Well, I am happy to announce that the latter did not happen with Ciara Geraghty’s Saving Grace. As I went in tentatively I was soon to find that I had nothing to worry about as the book packed a punch, what with the main character’s idiosyncrasies and hilarious flaws, the robust characters and the overall feel good nature of books like this.
I found myself taking giant strides toward the last page in less than a week (in between my busy work life) so first off I should say that when a book is interesting enough (most chick lits are) you find time to pore over it with glee. Was it a love story? But, of course it was! But not in that predictable way and for once in all my years of reading I actually liked all the characters…except for the one.
Here are a few of the things I liked about Saving Grace:
- The setting:-Ireland I haven’t read any books set in Ireland before so it was a very welcome introduction to the country.
- The humor:- this is by far the best feature of Saving Grace. The book had me cackling almost seventy five percent of the time.
- The ease:- there was this breeziness about the narration it just delivered me from page to page as I got sucked into the lives of the characters. That same ease presented grief in soft gentle words which was more profound than I have experienced in other books I have encountered.
- The similes:-oh my days! The author delivers some very profound similes that just lock in the exact emotion of the character per time and paints the perfect picture for the reader to envision. Isn’t that what similes are meant to do anyway? Examples from the book abound like “the hairdresser had spent over an hour on my hair that morning and when she was finished, she looked exhausted but proud-like a mother who has just pushed a ten-pound baby out into the world.” And this “the sky is a blameless blue that stretches like a piece of silk over our heads as far as forever.” One last one for the road, “when the crowds outside the church saw the car pulling up at the gates, they disappeared faster than free samples at a make-up party.” Actually I have one more “I remember having sex with you that night and how good it felt, and how we slept afterwards, like crescent moon tucked around one another”.
- The suspense:- one would think that a love story would slide easily into place. Boy meets girl, girl loves boy, boy proposes, the end. Not so for Saving Grace even though a good reader can almost tell that all will be well at the end there’s that little doubting voice saying “what if they don’t get together at the end? I really enjoyed the suspense though. I mean what’s a good story without good old suspense?
- The realness (is that a word?) of the book. You know how you are reading a book and nodding your head along with the events? Yes, I could relate to Grace’s emotions so easily. Her insecurity about her weight, her need to be loved by someone who wasn’t treating her right, her sadness over her brother’s death and her mum’s attitude toward her. This I can attribute to the author’s skill at laying it down without pretense.
- The style of narration:- Since she used the first person point of view (which I love by the way) it wasn’t surprising to find that she spoke to the reader like she was really telling the story from across a table to a best friend (I felt she had taken me as her confidante)
- Wisdom:-The book is infused in it and I soaked it in gladly. Like this little statement; “She had been disappointed in love a long time ago. Not one of those disappointments that make you stronger. The other kind. The one that makes you bitter and keeps you that way until you die”. Profound huh? Thought so too.
I am contemplating saying something about the story (spoilers anyone?) but I think its best I don’t. Has this book taught me anything new or reminded me of things I once knew? Oh certainly! I came across the use of Hobson’s choice a phrase I learnt about three years ago and I realized I have never used it in a conversation. It made me wonder if I really remember the things I learn in adulthood (enough to utilize it) or I just bask in the faux knowledge that I am getting wiser with age. It was a bit of a reflective moment for me when I came across that phrase again.
I also discovered that after all is said and done everyone just wants to be loved (except perhaps for people who have taken up hatred as a career) and that losing someone you love is one of the most traumatic experiences a human being can go through but the worst thing one can do is blame oneself for the death of a loved one.
Saving Grace gave me nuggets of wisdom and I will be remembering them for a very long time.
One last thing before I go…if I (eventually) get to write a book in my lifetime I want to write like Ciara Geraghty.