Tuesday 28 July 2020

Start Without Me

Finished July 22
Start Without Me by Joshua Max Feldman

This novel has two main characters who meet in a random way and have a big effect on the direction of each other's life. Adam is an alcoholic who has been clean for just over nine months and who is joining his family for Thanksgiving, something he is very nervous about. He was a musician and after a stint in a good rehab facility changed his life in a big way. He stopped being a musician and took a job in a bank. He moved from the East Coast to California. He still misses Johanna who was his band mate and girlfriend, but who had issues of her own. This is his first time back with family and he panic's when something goes wrong.
Marissa is a flight attendant. She is married to a guy she met at college who has a very different background from her. She grew up with an alcoholic mother, moving often to avoid financial situations, and she and her sister were often left alone. Her husband Robbie is from an achieving family, with his mother a judge and his father a senator. His sister runs a nonprofit she created. They are also different culturally from her experience, with his dad black and his mom Jewish. She never feels accepted visiting them, and is very aware of her more disadvantaged background. She arranged to have flights over this weekend, with a break just long enough to join them for dinner. She and Robbie have been fighting a lot lately, partly about money as she doesn't want to accept handouts from his parents. Now, though, she has another problem. Recently, she'd encountered her high school boyfriend on a flight she was working and gave into the impulse to sleep with him, something they'd not done back then. And now she is pregnant. Her flight attendant friend has encouraged her to have an abortion, and she knows that is the logical thing to do, but her guilt is huge.
When Marissa and Adam encounter each other in the restaurant of an airport hotel, they begin to share their stories, and then find themselves sharing more as they go through this holiday. There is a lot to discuss in this novel, and my copy came with discussion questions to get you started.

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