Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Outlook for Earthlings

The Outlook for Earthlings by Joan Frank
10/2/20; 237 pages
Regal House Publishing

The Outlook for Earthlings by Joan Frank is a highly recommended poetic novel about the lifelong friendship between two women.

"The Outlook for Earthlings traces an unusual, difficult friendship across a lifetime, between women of stunningly opposite natures." Melanie Taper is timid, but she also has an innate insight into the human condition. It seems that she has hidden her inner strength from those around her. Scarlet is the exact opposite of Melanie. She is impetuous, determined, and passionate, so she is also often shocked by Melanie's passivity. The two cling to their friendship even though they don't understand each other and they each have their own separate needs. Their lack of accord results in each of them silently taking exception to the nature of the other oblivious to what they each need. Ultimately, it considers beginnings and endings, contemplates who ultimate measures the worth of their life, and the restraint of friendship.

The novel spans decades, starting in the 1960s to the 2000s with an epilogue in 2013. We meet Melanie and Scarlet as girls and touch base with them through adulthood. Frank perfectly and vividly captures the decades in various chapters. We know the thoughts of both women and their inner dialogues as we follow their lives and the decisions they make. We also see the compromises and concessions that they make, especially Melanie, as they work through their life and loves. The characters are both well-developed and accurately portrayed as individuals with very different personalities.

The writing in The Outlook for Earthlings is phenomenal, poetic, descriptive, and poignant. This novel is almost perfectly written to be read and shared in a women's book club because of the differences between these two women and their long-term, yet misunderstood, friendship with each other. During this time of political chaos and covid, where people are so polarized and not respecting the views and opinions of other people, a novel like this speaks to the heart of the matter. We can't know what someone thinks without talking to them, asking what they need, and then truly listening to them and accept their statements. We are all entitled to our own opinions and views, but we are not entitled to pin our ideas on others. Friends, real friends, will allow each other to be and believe. A book club could find fodder for discussions during more than one meeting here and perhaps even enlighten each other why others believe what they do. No spoilers, but there is a whole lot more going on that simply a difference of opinion in this touching novel.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Joan Frank and Regal House Publishing 

1 comment:

Sara Strand said...

I thought this would be a great book club pick as well! I felt like so many conversations could be had around Scarlet and Mel's friendship and could be compared to our own lives. Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours