Sometimes people fall into a monotonous pattern in their life. This is something that could work perfectly for some, but in time can prove to be trying for others. You grow up with the same people around you. The same friends. The same hang outs. You date your highschool sweetheart, go to college with your highschool sweetheart, and become engaged to your highschool sweetheart because it just seems like the logical step to take. You haven't set foot out of your home town because everything you have or would ever want is right there, so why leave? Why explore? For some, this life could be the most comforting in the world. But for others, and for the main character of the story, Carrie Bell, this could prove to be a life that you can't get away from fast enough.
This story is about Carrie's journey to self-realization. It is a story about taking responsibility not because you HAVE to but because you WANT to. Eventually, Carrie's past catches up with her and she is forced to make a decision of what is best for her and for the situation at hand. Is she able to forget the past and start a new life? Or are her roots too deeply embedded?Here is an excerpt of the book:
When something terrible happens to someone else, people often use the word "unbearable." Living through a child's death, a spouse's, enduring some other kind of permanent loss–it's unbearable, it's too awful to be borne, and the person or people to whom it's happened take on a kind of horrible glow in your mind, because they are in fact bearing it, or trying to: doing the thing that it's impossible to do. The glow can be blinding at first–it can be all you see–and although it diminishes as years pass it never goes out entirely, so that late some night when you are wandering the back pathways of your mind you may stop at the sudden sight of someone up ahead, signaling even now with a faint but terrible light.
Mike's accident happened to Mike, not to me, but for a long time afterward I felt some of that glow, felt I was giving it off, so that even doing the most innocuous errand, filling my car with gas or buying toothpaste, I thought everyone around me must see I was in the middle of a crisis.
Yet I didn't cry. The first days at the hospital were full of crying–Mike's parents crying, his brother and sister, and Rooster, maybe Rooster most of all–but I was dry-eyed. My mother and Jamie told me it was because I was numb, and I guess that was part of it, numb and terrified: when I looked at him it was as if years had unwound, and I'd just met him, and I couldn't stand not knowing what was going to happen. But there was something else, too: everyone was treating me so carefully and solicitously that I felt breakable, and yet I wasn't broken. Mike was broken, and I wasn't broken. He was separate from me, and that was shocking.
A national bestseller, Ann Packer was definitely able to write this story in such a way that can make you want to both root Carrie on in her attempts to find herself during such a tumultuous period and want to simultaneously hit her upside the head.