Monday, 15 March 2021

Gravity Is the Thing

Finished August 14 
Gravity Is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty

This book, set mostly in Australia, with a short section set in Montreal, is the story of thirty-six-year-old single mom Abigail Sorensen. The book opens just before her thirty-sixth birthday, where she is on a small island off Tasmania in response to an invitation she received for a big reveal. Starting twenty years ago, when she was sixteen, she began getting random chapters to something called The Guidebook in the mail. She has faithfully sent in address changes and responded most of the time to an annual reflection prompt and is interested to find out what is behind the mailings. However, another part of her associates these mailings with her missing brother, as that also happened when she turned sixteen, just after her first mailed chapter. Despite have a good police liaison and following up every lead, they still don't know what happened to her brother, so part of her hopes for that truth as well. 
She finds a group of people near her age, all of whom had kept getting the chapters from The Guidebook, just as she had. The getaway is run by a man named Wilbur, who is the son of the couple who sent out the chapters. After a couple days spent doing a variety of activities,  a select group of those attending are let in on the secret behind the chapters, and the reaction is underwhelming. Some are disappointed, some upset.
After she goes back home, Abigail is invited again to continue with follow-up sessions and something in the universe seems to be telling her to attend. 
There is a lot going on here. We gradually learn Abigail's story, about what happened when her brother Robert disappeared and how her family dealt with the situation. We know that her mom has a new partner Xuang, who Abigail likes, and we learn about her ex-husband Finnegan. Abigail's son Oscar, four years old as the book begins is a large presence in the book too. Abigail trained as a lawyer, but now she runs her own cafe, one called the Happiness Cafe, in north Sydney. 
We see a selection of the chapters that she received, and they are pretty off the wall, and quite short. As I said, they arrive in a completely random order, and she didn't read all of them, or follow all the instructions that they gave her, although she did some, and they did have an effect on her life as she thinks back. 
As we see her relate to the various people in her life: employees, friends, family, and the new people she meets at Wilbur's sessions, we begin to learn about Abigail. I liked her. I think she'd be fun to know. We see her worries and her daily life. We see some of her thoughts as she goes through her days. This is a book about a woman's life, as she considers it and makes the decisions that will determine where it goes next. I really enjoyed this book. It is hard to classify. There are elements of romance in it at times, but mostly not. There is the mystery of her brother's disappearance, which continues throughout, but is just one of the plot lines. It is really just about life.

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