On the eve of their Silver Anniversary, Mary Gooch is waiting for her husband Jimmy–still every inch the handsome star athlete he was in high school–to come home. As night turns to day, it becomes frighteningly clear to Mary that he is gone. Through the years, disappointment and worry have brought Mary’s life to a standstill, and she has let her universe shrink to the well-worn path from the bedroom to the refrigerator. But her husband’s disappearance startles her out of her inertia, and she begins a desperate search.
For the first time in her life, she boards a plane and flies across the country to find her lost husband. So used to hiding from the world, Mary finds that in the bright sun and broad vistas of California, she is forced to look up from the pavement. And what she finds fills her with inner strength she’s never felt before. Through it all, Mary not only finds kindred spirits, but reunites with a more intimate stranger no longer sequestered by fear and habit: herself.
I am a bit mixed on this book. On the one hand, I loved it – it was an engaging story that kept me interested. On the other hand, I thought it was a bit strange. Mary Gooch is a 300+ lb woman living a sheltered life in Canada. One evening, after 25 years of marriage, Mary’s husband doesn’t come home. She keeps calling his office and cell phone, leaving messages, trying to figure out where he is. She doesn’t seem overly worried and assumes that he’s just left her. I don’t know about this. My first concern would be that my husband was in an accident or something. I’d be calling the hospitals, the police stations, putting together search parties….you get the idea. It just did not feel REAL to me. Her reaction was a bit weird and didn’t quite make sense.
As I said before, Mary lives a very sheltered life. Her husband bought her a cell phone that she doesn’t use, she’s rarely left her hometown in Canada, and she doesn’t own a computer. Mary is obese. Morbidly obese. Or, as Mary refers to it – obeast. I really did feel for Mary and I wanted her to learn how to love herself and become the person she wants to be. I just didn’t find the plot to be very plausible. Mary eats her way through problems, but when her husband leaves, she suddenly is no longer hungry and barely eats anything. It’s not exactly the healthiest way to lose weight and didn’t seem very realistic. Maybe I should have found deeper meaning in the story; that hunger is a metaphor for what’s missing in her life, but I just couldn’t get beyond these superficial plot points.
The ending left me a bit cold. Things were not completely cleared up and I was left with more questions than answers. I was really disappointed with the ending.
In case you couldn’t tell, I am struggling with my thoughts on this book. I’m having a difficult time reviewing it, because I did like it, but some of the things in the plot just didn’t make sense to me and it really detracted from my overall enjoyment of the story. Mary is a great character that you will root for and if you can get past some of these plot issues, I’m sure you’ll enjoy her story.