~The Good Stepmother, Karen Savage and Patricia Adams
Written in alternating perspectives, a mother and daughter reveal the events, thoughts, and feelings they experience over the course of about a year in The Gap Year, a novel by Sarah Bird, published in July 2011. As the mother of teenagers who drive me crazy at times (and vice versa, I'm sure), including a daughter who'll start college at the end August, I was interested in reading this book, in which a mother worries about her college-bound daughter. But I didn't know much more about the book or the author, and I had no idea if I'd truly enjoy reading this new novel.
Without further delay, I'll come right out and say that reading The Gap Year was a wonderful experience; I read most of it while in flight from NYC to San Diego recently. Instead of fretting about periods of turbulence, I was immersed in the worlds of the likable main characters, Camille Lightsey, a single mother and lactation consultant, and her daughter, Aubrey, a 17-year-old high school senior who's starting to become more independent. People talk about perfect beach reads, but for me, this book was the perfect airplane read.
In fact, I was so engrossed in the book that my 14-year-old daughter, sitting to my left on the plane, took note and turned her head to also read it (and told me to hurry and finish it, so that she could read it soon, by herself). Later during the flight, the man in my row by the window, whom I'd conversed with only briefly and perfunctorily (don't bother me, I'm reading), also noticed my intent reading and said that he wanted to read this book as well. The Gap Year is touching and funny (I laughed out loud more than once) and realistic, and I simply basked in it. In addition to my appreciation of the author's wit and fluid writing style, this book also made me decide to react more sensitively toward my teenaged daughters. Time and experience have toughened me up a great deal, but I certainly remember the overly sensitive days of my (boy-crazy) youth, and the extreme self-consciousness that was sometimes paralyzing; I realized while reading this that my daughters (and daughters everywhere) are struggling to become independent, to become themselves, and that I should respect their feelings and efforts, and back off some. Based on my enjoyment of this book, I'd really like to read more of Sarah Bird's work, which consists of eight novels.
Great news! Alfred A. Knopf Publishers is generously offering a copy of The Gap Year as a giveaway to a lucky reader (U.S./Canada only).
- To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
- For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower, or that you subscribe in Google Reader.
- For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter.
Enter by 5PM PDT on Monday, August 22. One winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Tuesday, August 23. Good luck!
Special thanks to Lisa from TLC for sending me an uncorrected proof of this book. I did not quote from the book for that reason (sometimes I do bend the rules a tad, but in this case I chose not to). For other reviews of this novel, please visit the other stops on TLC's The Gap Year book blog tour.