‘Life happens.’ The ups and downs can drown you or you can learn from the experiences to move at a smoother pace. Yet often we are left with feelings of inadequacy and fear. Those who choose to go again into the fray gain courage to move on.
Debra McKenna has given us a fun and hopeful look into the life of one such character in her book, Recovering from Life. There is no doubt that her character, Stephanie McCarthy, is just that – a character. Redheaded and bold, she finds herself in a rough patch when her husband seems to fall back into a drug habit, one she thought he had overcome. As he disappears, she begins to take stock of the things happening around her. In her considered bliss, she realizes that she has allowed him too much power in their life and business, as well as their home. Her name is on nothing, he owes everyone, and her only saving grace is that the creditors can’t come after her. Yet she is now financially doomed, she has lost her job and she finds herself on the roller coaster of life.
The problem begins with the legalities. She is not responsible for moneys owed, but her husband’s deals are not all aboveboard, or with respectable businesses. He owes money for drugs as well, and the collectors for that do not care as much about the laws protecting her from legal collections.
This fun-filled and yet at times stressful story is enchanting and just a bit different. The characters are very life-sized and an amazing mix of clever, brutal, fun, and even at times whimsical. The experiences are adventurous and easy to relate to, although in some cases a bit unbelievable. Yet the story is also deep and brings hope, something that is often lacking when times are tough. McKenna has secured an anchor for the twists of lightness and courage.
The goal is to heal from whatever bumps life throws at you, and to overcome that inability to move forward. While in no way moralistic, the story has a moral hidden behind its fabric. There are humor and promise, wishes and potential all there, if we just look beyond the here and now and reach for it.
If you like fun and feel-good stories you will find this immensely interesting – contemporary with a twist, filled with courage, boldness and a zany cast of characters. You will find yourself reading from start to finish, wanting to know more.
This would be a great book for a reading group, engendering a great deal of conversation on depression, hope, romance and moving forward.