Sunday, July 21, 2019

Gravity Is the Thing

Gravity Is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty
HarperCollins: 7/23/19
eBook review copy; 416 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062883735

Gravity Is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty is a highly recommended novel about a woman's search for universal truths and happiness.

Abigail (Abi) Sorenson’s brother Robert went missing twenty years ago. It was the day before her sixteenth birthday, a day the two had a special on-going birthday ritual. The two were very close but she has heard nothing from him since that day and he never shared his plans with her. She has been looking for him ever since and his absence from her life has had an lasting impact. That same year, she began receiving chapters in the mail of a self-help manual called The Guidebook and has received the chapters ever since. The Guidebook has been a constant through her life as she went through various changes and trials.

Now, twenty years later, Abi has been invited along with twenty-five other recipients of The Guidebook to an all-expenses paid weekend to Taylor Island, off the southeast coast of Australia by Wilbur, the son of the authors. She hopes to learn the truth behind The Guidebook. Sure, she's intrigued, but it is also a vacation. Her mother is watching her four-year-old son, Oscar and her Happiness Café can run itself in her absence. What The Guidebook was purposing to teach the recipients is surprising and surrealistic, but perhaps Abi does have something to discover through the lessons.

This is a rather quirky, amusing, diverting novel that tells Abi's story, past and present, through first and second person points-of-view in chapters that vary widely in length. Chapters from The Guidebook are interspersed throughout. Abi is a well-developed character and her journey through life is filled with wit, humor, stress, heart-break, and problems. She does learn some unexpected lessons as she further explores what the authors of The Guidebook intended and looks into the sometimes absurd advice from other self-help books in her search for happiness.

Moriarty is a YA author and this is a successful first foray into adult fiction. She does an excellent job telling Abi's story. The dramatic difference in the length of chapters along with switching between past and present and the inclusion of chapters from The Guidebook to tell Abi's story is used quite effectively by Moriarty. Above all, the characters are searching for a connection, something to complete them and provide the happiness and fulfillment that seems to be missing in their lives. Readers won't learn why Abi and the other recipients of The Guidebook were chosen until almost the end, but it makes sense. The answer of what happened to Robert is also provided for closure. Basically, this is a novel about a woman's life and her quest for answers, happiness, and fulfillment.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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