Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading. This week I'm sharing the first few paragraphs of The Gap Year by Sarah Bird. The Gap Year was published in 2011 and I've actually read it before. I discussed it with a book group here at the library and we enjoyed it very much. I ran across my copy as I was sorting through my shelves and thought I might reread it.
Sarah is a local author and lives with her family here in Austin. I've actually read several of her books and discussed another one with that book group, The Yokota Officer's Club. She will have a new book published in April by the UT Press entitled A Love Letter To Texas Women. However, back to The Gap Year - see what you think:
I once believed that I was physiologically incapable of being unhappy while submerged in water. Sunk in a bathtub up to my eyeballs, I was as free of earthly cares as a turtle sunning herself. Yet here I am, wallowing through my tenth lap, feeling prickly and unsettled rather than weightless and dolphin-sleek. Instead of soaring into silent galaxies, I am snarled up in annoyance that my right eye is stinging because these crappy goggles are leaking and that the ladies' aqua-cardio class in the shallow end is blaring 'It's Raining Men' and that the flip-turning jerk I'm sharing a lane with drowns me every time he powers past and that because I didn't expose my only child to enough dirt, Aubrey will hit the germ factory that is a college dorm with a weak immune system and that she will die of spinal meningitis.
Although I am a slob and raised Aubrey with plenty of messiness, my worst enemy--Recent Studies--now tells me that I should have gone the extra step and provided actual squalor. Recent Studies says that the absolute best thing for building antibodies is close contact with livestock. If I'd only put a goat in the playpen with my baby she probably wouldn't have asthma today.
Cam has raised her daughter Aubrey alone ever since her ex left to join a cult. But now the bond between mother and daughter seems to have disappeared. While Cam is frantic to see Aubrey, a straight-A student, at the perfect college, on a path that Cam is sure will provide her daughter success and happiness, Aubrey suddenly shows no interest in her mother’s plans. Even the promise of an exciting gap year saving baby seals or bringing clean water to remote villages hasn’t tempted her. She prefers pursuing a life with her wrong-side-of-the-tracks football-hero boyfriend and her own secret hopes.
Both mourn the gap that has grown between them, but Cam and Aubrey seem locked in a fight without a winner. Can they both learn how to hold onto dreams . . . and when to let go to grasp something better?
I know that I recently read a book that featured a mother dealing with a daughter of college-age, but this book is funny and not mysterious, while also dealing with tough issues. Plus it has a lot of local color in it. Local to me anyway. I have a good time watching for Austin-isms and places. Looking forward to a good 'ole reread!