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Brooke's Pick: Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance by Alison Espach


Opening in the early nineties and charting almost two decades of shared history and missed connections, this is both a breathtaking love story about two broken people who are unexplainably, inconveniently drawn to each other and a wryly astute coming-of-age tale brimming with unexpected moments of joy.


Nothing quite pulls at my heartstrings like a good coming-of-age novel. Combine that with a heartfelt portrayal of love and loss, and I am sold, as is the case with Alison Espach’s new novel, Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance. What a magnificent book! As someone who moves on to my next read quickly after finishing a book, I am happy to say that this nostalgic novel will stay with me for some time.


Told in the second person from Sally to her older sister Kathy, Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance spans 15 years as Sally comes to terms with the events leading up to, and those that follow, Kathy’s untimely death. The story follows Sally and Kathy during their last summer together, young girls on the cusp of womanhood, who both only have eyes for Billy, the local heartthrob. Of course, Sally could never admit this to Kathy, who ends up dating Billy, but she finds herself quite fascinated with her sister’s boyfriend.


After Kathy dies, Sally and Billy gravitate toward each other, comforting one another in their shared grief. As Sally attempts to forge a new life for herself in a world that no longer holds her sister, Billy is there helping her keep Kathy’s memory alive. What we are left with is a frank and authentic account of what it is like to move forward in grief after losing the person who means the most to you, and how it shapes the people we become.


Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance is a book that you feel, a book that you experience, which makes it difficult to put into words. This novel is full of such longing and introspection, as a young girl grows into a woman in the wake of her effervescent older sister’s death. How do we go on after losing those who mean the world to us? As Sally shows us, in fits and starts, putting one foot in front of the other while also looking back longingly at everything we leave behind.


Espach’s masterpiece is a witty, resonant portrait of grief manifested in a teenage girl. A true coming-of-age story in the vein of the 1991 film My Girl, Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance is both haunting and candid, both ugly and beautiful, and is truly a book to behold.


Availability: Book; eBook in cloudLibrary Rating: ***** Stars (I loved it)

Reviewer: Brooke, Public Relations Librarian

 

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Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance


GENRE: Coming-of-Age Stories; Love Stories; Second Person Narratives

THEME: Coping with Death (The characters in these stories are coping with grief and loss after the passing of someone close to them.)

TONE: Bittersweet; Moving; Reflective

CHARACTER: Introspective

STORYLINE: Character-Driven; Sweeping

WRITING STYLE: Lyrical

SUBJECT: First Loves; Loss; Sibling Rivalry; Siblings


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