This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone

Beware: spoilers galore within this review.

This was a quirky novel about Becca and Buckley.

We meet Becca first, who, at 8 years old, gets struck by lightning in, guess where? Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I guess this must be how I stumbled upon this gem of a book, someone mentioned that it was set in NC -- which is almost always a winner for getting on my must-read list.

No one seems to believe her, despite the fact that she can no longer wear a watch because the batteries wear out as though she sucks the 'life' out of 'em. And there's the whole 'time moves backwards' when she wears the watch. But her Grandma Edna believed her. She saw the hands of her watch clock move backward.

Buckley was 13 when Becca was struck by lightning. He lived in Mont Blanc, Arkansas with his mom and grandmother. He adored his mother so much. His grandmother was mean. Eventually, his mother, who was obese, married Reverend Pitank, thinking he would be a good male role model for Buckley. Unfortunately, it was a mistake. The reverend and grandma got along great because they were both mean. So one day, Abigail (Buckley's beloved mom) took Buckley and they ran away to Galveston, TX. There, Abigail was pursued by Paddy John and eventually, she gave in. Paddy John loved Abigail and one dreadful, tragic, fateful day, Abigail was struck and killed by lightning. Paddy John and Buckley lost the love of their lives.

Buckley would then write The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, where an excerpt of his book opens each chapter of this novel. Buckley and Becca are two different people who eventually meet but we meet them in each separate chapters and live their lives. It's fun, funny and sad. Becca is quirky, spunky and an unforgettable character. Buckley is possibly autistic, maybe bipolar but manages to get through life.

It was difficult to read this book during our frenetic weather last week: thunderstorms nearly everyday. In fact, last Tuesday, Melisa and I ran with an ominous cloud on the horizon. At the end of the run, I mentioned this book, to which she replied "I'm glad you waited until the end of the run to mention it to me!" All the 'signs' of impending lightning had me a little on alert and made me wonder about some of my symptoms, did I, in fact, in the past, get struck by lightning? I, too, can't wear watches because the batteries die quick. But then, it's just me finding symptoms in anything I read...:)

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