~Two Years, No Rain, Shawn Klomparens
California, along with other western states, may be at the beginning of the worst drought in modern history. In San Diego County, there's a serious scarcity of water and rain. Things are so bad that this summer, we have Level 2 mandatory restrictions on the amount of water we can use. We're allowed to water our lawns only three times a week on assigned days, depending on the type of dwelling we live in and our address. We're told to take showers that last for five minutes or less, and shallow baths--no deeper than three inches of water (why even bother?). These are just a few of the restrictions. Lack of rain and water shortages are not fun and require planning and sacrifice. So while I don't judge books by their covers--although I must admit I'm drawn to books by their covers on occasion--I did think I'd be able to relate to Two Years, No Rain on the basis of the title, and the fact that the book takes place in San Diego, where I live.
This is a brand new book, the second novel by author Shawn Klomparens, who lives in Jackson, Wyoming. Published in 2009, Two Years, No Rain is the story of Andy Dunne, who is going through some major changes in his life. First, he loses his wife, Elise, who has moved out. Next he'll lose his job as lead forecaster at a radio station. Coaxed by his love interest, Hillary Hsing, Andy takes a leap of faith and auditions for a part as the host of a children's TV show. As Andy tries to move past his failed marriage, he helps his sister and her family, and things begin to heat up between Andy and Hillary, who's unfortunately married. In fact, the only thing that doesn't seem to change in his life is the weather in San Diego--it hasn't rained in nearly two years.
Within a couple of days, I'd finished reading Two Years, No Rain. Once I settled into my favorite reading couch with this book, I was drawn quickly into the life of Andy Dunne, the main character, wanted to continue reading, and did! Written in the first-person narrative, I liked hearing things from a male perspective for a change. I cared about Andy because he's basically a decent guy with a conscience who's struggling to do the best he can after his life falls apart. Things may look bleak for him, but the tone of the book's hopeful and funny rather than somber. At times, this novel is darkly humorous. (Yellow sticky notes take on a very funny significance in this novel. I won't spoil it by saying more.) I wanted Andy to get the job and the girl, and a chance at a new life.
In this contemporary novel, Klomparens uses modern technology to capture some of the highs and lows of romance, with cell phones buzzing and text messaging, which is how Andy and Hillary keep in touch, and plays a large role in their courtship. And now's a good time to mention sex. There is sex in this book, and some profanity, so I suppose this book would be rated R, although it could easily be turned into a PG-13 movie--and I think it would make a terrific movie.
Without revealing too much, Two Years, No Rain is about more than romance; it's a story about hope for the future, about picking yourself up after you fall, about getting out in the world and trying your best. Those are my favorite kinds of books. Here in San Diego we really do get excited about the possibility of rain, about the sight of approaching rain clouds, the promise that our lawns and fruit trees and gardens will survive, and the thought that maybe water restrictions will ease up a bit. As a Southern Californian, I enjoyed the book's references to California: the different areas of San Diego county, the Coast Highway and freeways, the lack of rain and greywater (neither's actually enjoyed), shopping at Target. The familiar setting made the book more accessible to me. Although even if you don't live in Southern California, I think you'll enjoy reading this funny, sharp, and original novel.
Special thanks to Lisa from TLC for the opportunity to review this new novel. Please stop by again on July 23 for an exclusive interview with Shawn Klomparens! For more reviews of this book, please visit the other stops on the Two Years, No Rain book tour.