Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pekkanen Until You Puke Month #2: Skipping a Beat - Sarah Pekkanen

My second round of "Pekkanen Until You Puke Month" (see back story), or the First Course, if you will, was "Skipping a Beat".  Back when this book was first published, which was a little over a year ago, it made the rounds with many of you out there, and was well-loved.  You can blame my slow uptake on any number of things...TBR glut, over-commitment, global warming...but it really just comes down to laziness.  But motivated by a New Year's Resolution am I!  Bingeing on Pekkanen is better than bingeing on pizza or Girl Scout cookies anyway.


Synopsis:  Julia and Michael were high school sweethearts, originally drawn together by their unhappy family circumstances and their desire to break the cycle and make successes of themselves.  And it happened.  Julia runs her own event planning company, and Michael invented the predecessor to Vitamin Water and made millions.  They live in a mansion, they have servants, they own a basketball team, they have the world at their feet.


Except something went very wrong along the way.  The two have become distant.  There have been affairs, Michael is a work-a-holic, children were disregarded because of their busy schedule.  And Julia is lonelier than she has ever been.


Then one day, in the middle of a board meeting, Michael has a heart attack and dies...for four minutes and eight seconds.  He comes back changed, reborn, ready to forego his millions, reinvent his marriage and make things right.  But can it really be that easy, after everything that has happened?  Can Julia just forgive him and start over?  Can she walk away from everything she has worked for?  How dare he change the rules on her?


My thoughts:  Sometimes when you pick up a book and start reading, things just feel familiar.  The writing flows, the characters make sense, and you become immediately invested.  That is how I felt here.


Don't get me wrong, I initially got really mad.  Julia's first reaction, after hearing that Michael had survived his heart attack and wanted to give everything away, was fury.  I thought she acted cold, spoiled and heartless.  The guy had almost DIED!  But then Pekkanen begins to slowly reveal the back story.  We learn why Julia has issues, and thus begins the character study of these two people who were once very much in love.  And after some really bitter angst, the story turns into something almost precious.  A re-evaluation of life.


And speaking of a re-evaluation of life, I suddenly got a whiff of dejavu while reading this.  In many ways, this story reminded me of "What Alice Forgot", a 5- star read for me last summer.  In that book, Alice conks her head and thinks she is the woman she was ten years prior.  But she isn't, and she sees her current-but-not-so-hot life with fresh eyes.  Fresh eyes is always a good lesson, a good reminder.


I will also warn you, sans spoilers, that this book will very likely make you cry.  I've been on quite a roll here lately with the tears.  I'm only telling you so you don't finish the book in public.


In a sea of forgettable women's fiction novels, this one stands out as something just a little different, something special, something you will want to read again.  


4.5 out of 5 stars  


  

15 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I knew you'd love this one! I sobbed at the end. Sarah writes emotion so well.

Anita said...

I loved this book!! I had the same reaction with the tears...so so good!

Zibilee said...

This is a book that I have been wanting to read for quite some time now. The reviews on it have been excellent, and the premise is one that I find really interesting. I am so glad that you loved it, and having also read What Alice Forgot, I think it would be interesting to compare the two. It sounds like this is a book that I should not miss. Great review today, Sandy!

Meg said...

I started this one last year and got away from it . . . I can't actually remember why now. Sounds like I need to pick it up again! Sarah is such a nice person, so I knew I would love her books before even grabbing them.

Darlene said...

I'm such a sucker for books that make me cry. lol. This one is on my reader waiting for me.

Julie P. said...

This one was super special in my opinion!

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Yep. I cried like a baby through a lot of this book, especially at the end. I thought I was going crazy. Sniffled. Bawled. Even hyperventilated a little bit.

Pekkanen's work is good stuff, have fun this month!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Oh dear, and all the comments about sobbing! I think I'll wait till I need a catharsis...

Jenners said...

I read this not too long ago and felt the same way about Sarah until the story developed more. Then I got mad at Michael. But I like how she brought it around in the end.

And good point about What Alice Forgot!

Michelle Shannon said...

I adored this book. I made the mistake of reading the end in public. I think it is the first and only time I will sob while at the beach. I'm glad you loved it!

Jenny said...

This sounds great.. I really need to pick up one of her books. And I've been meaning to get to What Alice Forgot too!! So many books, lol!

Mrs Q Book Addict said...

I have this one on my wish list, but I think I need to buy it sooner rather than later. This one sounds great!

Amy said...

I have yet to read a book by Sarah Pekkanen and don't know why since I've been interested since her first one was published especially because of the twin theme. And Skipping A Beat intrigued me even more. And now this review of yours has me itching to get a book in my hands now!

I'd better get going reading Sarah's boos since she's going to be publishing more soon!

Thanks for knocking me on the head and reminding me about a great author I'm missing out on!

(At this rate, I may just come here to your blog to make my book purchasing list!)

sarah pekkanen said...

Thank you for this wonderful review and I love all these comments, too! xooxo

Kathleen said...

This one is definitely appealing to me. It reminds me of that movie with Harrison Ford (Regarding Henry) where he gets hurt and forgets that he used to be a jerk to his wife and daughter. Anyway, this book sounds like a good one and I am thinking I want to watch that Harrison Ford movie again too!