Book review by Carolyn Burns Bass
Joshilyn Jackson’s new novel, Someone Else’s Love Story, takes readers on a breathless journey from the point of a gun, to the nature of miracles, and how the things we refuse to consider about ourselves are often the things that break the chains of our past. With one of the best opening lines in recent fiction, “I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, at a Circle K,” Someone Else’s Love Story grabs your heart, twists it relentlessly, finally letting go for an unexpected and yet satisfying ending.
Looking down that gun barrel at the Circle K is Shandi Pierce, whose piercing first person narrative is layered with the third person robotic voice of William Ashe. The small-town thug holding the gun is irrelevant to the story, but what happens when the gun goes off alters the lives of Shandi and William, as well as the supporting cast of oddballs clinging to these two deeply flawed people.
Shandi is 21 years old and the single mother of Natty, a precocious child whose IQ has already been logged into the genius level. The conception of Natty is blurred through much of the novel upon Shandi’s insistence he was a virgin birth. At the moment of the hold-up, William places himself in between the gunslinger and Natty, an act William sees as the rational response to a destiny he alone forecasts. Shandi, gobsmacked by William’s hunky Thor-like presence, unconsciously seeking a god-like protector, wedges herself into his life. The love story you expect is not the love story you get.
What you do get is needle-sharp penetration into personality disorders and scalpel-like snips into character motivation. Miracles are pitted against rationality, self-deception is revealed and realized, and the truth buried within each character unveils the love stories foreshadowed all along.
From the publisher’s website: Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, including gods in Alabama and A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages. A former actor, Jackson is also an award-winning audiobook narrator. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her husband and their two children.
Follow Joshilyn Jackson on Twitter: @JoshilynJackson.
This is an honest review written from a book supplied to us from the publisher.