Title: Shelter Me
Author: Juliette Fay
# pages: 415
Date published: December 30, 2008
Genre: women’s fiction
Challenge: Countdown Challenge
“Today wasn’t so bad.”
What Is It All About? After Janie LaMarche’s husband of seven years, Robby, dies in a biking accident, she is left behind to negotiate life with a toddler and a 5-year-old. Janie is doing the best she can. Which is to say—not all that well. Imagine having, possibly not the perfect life, but certainly a happy one, to being completely and utterly alone. How do you recover from that? Janie doesn’t make it look easy, but she did a lot better than I would have in her shoes. I shudder to think…
Random Thoughts: This is a beautifully written, emotional book. I laughed. I cried. And I loved every minute of it! For those of you who may be hesitant to pick up Shelter Me because you think it may be depressing, I can tell you that I didn’t find it depressing at all. That’s not to say that I didn’t shed a few tears over Janie’s missing her beloved husband and her kids missing their dad—I did—but, ultimately, the book is about how Janie deals with her grief and makes a new life for herself and her kids.
I could have finished this book days earlier than I did, but I just didn’t want it to end. I’ve never lost a husband (thank goodness!), but I have lost someone I was very close to—my grandmother. The way Fay writes about grief—how sometimes time is normal and then other times an hour takes days and days to go by; the heartbreaking thoughts of the things you meant to say, the things you meant to do with that person…one day…and now it’s too late, etc.—mirrored my own experience so closely. It made me all that more connected with Janie. When writers can elicit that kind of response in me, I will read anything and everything they ever write. It will be no different with Juliette Fay.
Favorite scene: Janie takes a self-defense class at the insistence of her Aunt Jude. A very powerfully written scene.
Favorite quote: I read an advanced reading copy of the book, so the page number might not be correct in the end but this will give you a flavor of the book:
“Monday morning Janie woke to the sound of torrential rain. And something else. A kind of splatting sound. She unwound herself from the stranglehold she had on Robby’s pillow and shat up. “What is that?” she said to the pillow. “Weird house sounds—that’s your job.”
But they were all her jobs now. The hunting, the gathering, repair and maintenance of the shelter. The division of labor, discussed and renegotiated countless times over seven years of marriage, had become meaningless in one blown stop sign.” (p. 16)
Recommended for readers who like: To read books about strong, resilient women and authors like Marisa de los
Thank you, Harper Collins First Look program for giving me the chance to read an ARC of this book. It was fabulous and I’m eagerly awaiting Ms. Fay’s next book!