Sometimes you read a book and it touches a cord in your heart and you are not sure what the connection is. I had that recently with The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert. I still wonder if part of the reason I liked the book so much is because my Grandparents used to help take care of a family owned hotel here in Grand Rapids. Ironically it was on the corner across the street from where I work now. No hotel anymore, just a strip mall.
To my young heart there was something romantic about living and working at a hotel. The family my grandparents worked for had their home as part of the hotel. That is where their children grew up and of course there was a wonderful pool in the summer for us to use and horses out back. Hard to believe when you drive by here now.
But anyways, that has nothing to do with Katie’s book which was so much fun to read. I love her characters and how honest they are. They have real emotions that deal with the big issues they are facing. Even though it was a sad moment of the book, I completely enjoyed when Carmen had a bit of a break down in the parking lot of a store. She ran over the sign for parking for expectant mothers. Then she backed up and did it again. Now that is a real person’s reaction to the stress of having to buy yet another baby gift when you are unable to have children.
Carmen on the outside looks like she has it all together. Her TV audience loves her and she has the reputation for getting the weather right all the time. People invite her into their homes every morning and feel like they know her. Carmen would be the first to tell them, they don’t. They have no idea that she longs with her heart to have a baby. They have no idea that she and her husband are barely speaking and she has no idea how to fix that and heaven forbid they find out she has an alcoholic mother.
Gracie on the other hand seems to be easy to read. She is a gothic, lost child who fights against authority. But is she really? When she runs away from home in search of the one place she always felt loved and ends up at her older sister Carmen’s home, we start to see another side of her also. The one she doesn’t really want anyone else to see.
I think that is why I so enjoy Katie’s books. She writes characters that reflect who we all are behind the scenes. Her characters are people we all know and Katie gives us a chance to really learn who they are and maybe even get a chance to learn how we can help them. Alcoholic parents? Nope. Struggle with infertility? Nope. But with this book I got a chance to see what that was like and how to walk alongside them, helping in ways I may have never thought of.
I love when fiction books do that.