Published by Simon & Schuster on November 1st 2016
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Received from the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
These are tidbits of advice that Shelby receives from her “Angel” after surviving a car crash that resulted in her friend being in a Coma. Shelby is pulled out of the wreckage by her Angel, but suffers from survivors grief and depression. She cannot find the way to forgive her self for the accident that injured her friend so badly. She can’t accept that she got to walk away while her friend will never walk again. Forgiveness is not something she is willing to do for herself. She is not to blame for the accident but she finds that she cannot move on with her life. She is admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where she is repeatedly sexually assaulted, and then punishes herself for not being injured by shaving her head, self medicating with marijuana, and watching television in her parents basement most of the day. Eventually her relationship with Ben, her “dealer”, becomes romantic and they both move together to NYC in attempts to better their lives. He goes to school to become a pharmacist and she gets a job in a pet store.
She makes a new friend at the pet store which is a big step for her. Shelby continues to grow as she saves animals and cares for her friend’s children in her absence. Along the way, we witness Shelby make both good and bad decisions. Throughout her ups and downs she continues to get words of advice from her angel. She tends to take the advice and finds that by doings so she is helping herself to grow and move on. Eventually she finds her calling and makes progress toward her goals. She even gets to learn the identity of the person leaving her the notes. Ssh, I’m not telling.
This book initially read like a YA book for me. I really liked the characters of Ben and Shelby’s Mom. I loved how her Mom was always supportive and always there for her even when Shelby could not see that.
This is not vintage Hoffman. At times I longed for vintage Hoffman. I enjoyed this book but not as much as some of her other works. Perhaps she was reaching for a younger audience here. Like I mentioned earlier, the beginning felt like a YA book to me. This book does has symbolism as do her other books. This book is big on forgiveness, acceptance, love, betrayal, loss, infidelity, moving on, and simply living.
I think fans of Hoffman (as well as others) will enjoy this book. I found it to be a fast easy read.