Review Blog

Jun 18 2019

Gravity is the thing by Jaclyn Moriarty

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Pan Macmillan, 2019. ISBN: 9781760559502. 472p.
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Abigail Sorensen is a suburban, single parent, who settles it - ordinary persons invariably experience extraordinary events. Abigail is a wellspring of the paradoxes and insecurities of modern life. Jaclyn Moriarty hasn't only written a mystery novel for adults, whimsical in language and without chronological structure; but a gentle rendering of characters, most of whom respond to the human quandary by attempting to lead moral lives.
Abigail's sardonic inner monologue running parallel to the narrative are nearly as delightful as her young child's frequent malapropisms. Oscar is the product of a one night stand, motivated by her husband's long-term affair and subsequent abandonment. The polar opposites within the central character know no bounds - she owns a flaky happiness-themed-cafe and reads self-help books, yet she's a qualified lawyer.
Equally the book's premise is anything but a trope. From the age of 15, Abigail has been the recipient of the intermittent and unsolicited chapters of a self-help book, she calls, The Guidebook. The story starts when she agrees to attend a remote weekend retreat to learn the truth behind the subscription, which she could never bring herself to cancel. The first instalment of The Guidebook arrived at approximately the same time as her twin brother disappeared - a sign from the universe that tempered both her scepticism and her hope that somehow the two events were connected. Abigail decides to meet with the other long-term subscribers, who are dumbfounded that the book was not as metaphorical as they thought - but in fact, a practical manual.
With a stable of YA novels to her credit, Moriarty is at ease writing for adult readers. Indeed, the author makes us more open to possibilities because of her refreshing demands on adult imaginations and that's what makes Gravity is the Thing a departure from adult literature but nevertheless, thought provoking and addictive. Abigail's brief epistemological musings reward us every time we resume reading. This mundane yet enigmatic piece of adult literature is one for Senior Fiction. Why not recommend to staff for pleasure or as reference material for their philosophy classes.
Deborah Robins

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