Chasing Rainbows by Kathleen Long is a novel about life, love, and loss. This appealed to me because I haven't read a novel like this in quite some time. I have been focusing on gritty reads and was in search of a soulful story. Chasing Rainbows delivered.
What's that saying about the devil you know? For Bernie, it's the devil she never expected that changes everything.
Her father's sudden death leaves a gaping void in her life and is one in a series of events that rock her world. Her husband leaves for another woman, and her best friend announces an unplanned pregnancy at the age of forty-one. Bernie's behavior goes from acting out to out-of-hand, and she finds herself in trouble at home, out of work and banned from the mall after a confrontation at the cosmetic counter.
When her mother discovers her father's book of cryptograms, Bernie realizes his encoded lessons in living might be exactly what she needs to survive. From dealing with her family's grief and bonding with her best friend's thirteen-year-old daughter, to dieting, dating and mindless almost-sex with the landscaper, Bernie discovers what her father always knew.
In life, you either choose to sing a rainbow, or you don't.
For Bernie, the singing is about to begin.
Chasing Rainbows is both thought provoking and mindless, and I mean that in the best way possible. The story made me evaluate my own life, but was also simple and easy to digest. I wasn't pondering the content of the book, but the messages did make me ponder life and grief in general. Does that make any sense? I hope so, because I want to get across that this novel is light and deep- it is a multifaceted read.
Bernie is a well developed character, as are some of the other players- specifically her best friend Diane and Diane's daughter, Ashley. While Bernie takes center stage, Ashley and Diane both play huge roles in the changes that come in Bernie's life. Other characters come into the picture too, and are developed just enough to get connected to their story in relation to Bernie. Number Thirty Six and Mrs. Cooke are characters that pop up and slowly shed their skin of mystery as the story unfolds. I also appreciated the time Long spent on Poindexter, Bernie's dog. The reader learns a thing or two from him as well.
As Bernie navigates through a very difficult time in her life, the reader is right there with her. I was transported to a time of grief in my life, analyzing my travels through tough times. I found myself cheering for Bernie and simultaneously learning about my own process with grieving. Everyone grieves differently, which is an obvious point in this novel. While it is obvious (and I normally hate that) it was done very well- it wasn't glaringly obvious that it was distracting, but it was there as an undercurrent to the whole novel. I liked that.
I found that this was a really enjoyable read. It was quick and fulfilling. Chasing Rainbows was an inspiring novel, forcing me (in a good way) to think about my own grieving process. Also, there were some beautiful quotes scattered throughout the story- it added dimension and many were sticky-note on my desk worthy! I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an uplifting and purposeful novel.
I'll leave you with two of my favorite quotes that Kathleen Long added to Chasing Rainbows:
"The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it."
~ General Norman Schwarzkopf
"We love those who know the worst of us and don't turn their faces away"
~ Walker Percy
Color Coded and Monthly Keyword
|March keyword: Rainbow|
write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow