Finished 11-24-13, rating 4/5, fiction, 352 pages, pub. 2013
I received this book from She Reads. Go on over and see what other bloggers think about this one.
At twenty-one, Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Natty, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Catholic mother and Jewish father. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up in a gas station mini-mart and falling in love with a great wall of a man named William Ashe, who willingly steps between the armed robber and her son.
Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his universe. But William doesn’t define destiny the way other people do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in science and numbers, destiny to him is about choice.
Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, in a funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness,; about a virgin birth, a sacrifice, and a resurrection; about falling in love, and learning that things aren’t always what they seem—or what we hope they will be. It’s a novel about discovering what we want and ultimately finding what we need. (from Goodreads)
This may be the first book I’ve read with a main character, “the Aut-astic Dr. Ashe”, on the spectrum and it was refreshing to see how respectfully Jackson did it. I was impressed. William may have problems in the social department but he was above the grade in mental capacity and physical presence, so there wasn’t a lack of opportunity for him. Shandi, on the other hand, was a 21-year-old single mother who had convinced herself that her genius boy was a miracle baby and her opportunities were limited. But because of her loving parents and best friend Walcott she had a great support system and people who wanted to see her succeed. I think too often young single mothers are portrayed as having some missing parental relationship so it was nice to see that, yes, the undesirable can happen to decent parents too.
I found it hard to put this book down. Jackson has a way of drawing you in and making you want to stay in the world she’s created. Alternating chapters helped this story move along and I loved getting so much backstory with the current one. There was a shock near the end that I didn’t see coming and for some reason I didn’t like it. I know I will be in the minority here and I can take it. It just didn’t work for me. I get it and I get why people love it, but there were some threads to the story that made this surprising turn of events seem…disappointing in a way. It didn’t ruin the story because I still loved it, it’s more of a personal preference I guess.
This is my second Joshilyn Jackson book and I consider myself a new fan this year. I highly recommend this one.