Skipping a Beat, by Sarah Pekkanen

Skipping a BeatFinished 12-19-11, rating 4/5, fiction, 323 pages, pub.2011

Michael and Julia had a marriage that started with love and turned into indifference.  They had started out West Virginia poor, but ended up Washington DC millionaires.  When Michael died for four minutes his whole life turned on its head.  Now, he wanted a real relationship with Julia and she wasn’t sold on the idea, but that wasn’t Julia’s biggest problem.  Michael wanted to give away everything.  He wanted to make amends for the years of lying and neglect his power had caused.

The premise is fascinating.  I love books about marriages because each one is complex, unique.  This was no exception.  The chilliness in the marriage happened over time and it is only after a gradual reveal of their past that I totally got them as a couple. I thought the timing of the story and the way that it went from past to present was perfect.

In this story Michael wants to give everything away and Julia has fallen in love with all the amenities of the rich.  I get Julia not wanting to give up heated tiles or a jacuzzi, (who would once you had them?) but her repeated rejection of Michael got to be too much for me.  She was not a nice person and even when I read her backstory I never really got past the problem of her superficiality.  She made progress and grew as a person and the end of the book could have helped me feel better about her growth, but I think it was a cop out in that regard. The complexity of the book was lost in the sad, but pat, conclusion.

It may see that I didn’t like it and that’s not true.  It’s just that the distance I felt from Julia kept the whole story at arm’s length for me.  I loved Julia’s friend, Isabelle and was really invested in her story more than Julia’s.  Even with my complaints I still shed a tear, which I found surprising, so I must have been at least somewhat invested!   I think I’m in the minority for not loving this one.  A good read for fans of stories about complex relationships.

I checked this out of the library.

13 thoughts on “Skipping a Beat, by Sarah Pekkanen

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