Book #11: The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel

My goodness, I’ve been busy. I’m starting a new job (in the same place), and until I find my replacement, I’m pretty much doing two full-time jobs. I really love both jobs, but my new one is a stretch. In a good way–I’m learning a lot every day, and it’s challenging in ways that my old job never was. I’m looking forward to settling  in. As you can imagine, all that work doesn’t leave tons of room for reading or writing about what I’m reading. I actually finished this book a few weeks ago, and I’ve not been able to sit down and clear my head long enough to write about it.

This book is huge. Not long, it’s actually pretty short. It’s just one of those books that takes you in. It’s powerful and moving. Where my last favorite (The Night Circus) was fantastical and whimsical, this novel is firmly grounded. It tells the story of two people: Amos, a small-town preacher who isn’t quite sure what he believes in, and Langdon, an almost PhD who has just moved back the same small town to nurse a broken heart and find her way outside of academia. Both Amos and Langdon are highly intuitive, emotional people, and they’re drawn into a story that tests the boundaries of their capabilities. They’re brought together by two strange little girls and a mutual disdain for one another.

Down the street from both Amos and Langdon, two little girls dressed in princess costumes have come to live with their grandmother in the wake of a horrible tragedy. They call themselves Immaculata and Epiphany after claiming to see the Virgin Mary, who told them that they should change their names. They are silent, stoic, and broken. In different ways, they break through the thick shells that both Langdon and Amos have built around themselves. Both are forced to face their true selves, and it’s as messy, painful, and gut-wrenching as you’d expect. In the process, they learn to face their own faults and shortcomings as well as one another’s.

When I finished this book, I read the ending at least 5 times before I could bear to put it down. I was shaken by the honesty of the characters and the way that the book drew me in and wouldn’t let go. I would run out for this one. When I read it, I was reading a library copy, and I almost couldn’t bear to let it go. Don’t worry–I got my own from a used bookstore a few days ago.

Stay tuned, I’m catching up!

The list so far:

1. In One Person by John Irving

2. Mathilda Savitch by Victor Lodato

3. At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

4. Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

5. The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers

6. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

7. God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian by Kurt Vonnegut

8. My Life in France by Julia Child

9. Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon

10. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

11. The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel

9 thoughts on “Book #11: The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel

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