Hi! It’s been forever since I posted a review so I’m sorry for my disappearance. I’ve been stuck in a reading slump for a while and haven’t had anything to post. But that’s finally over. I read an incredible 5-star read and now I’m back! Hope you enjoy this review of one of my top reads of 2019:
‘Gravity is the Thing’ follows Abigail, the owner of a Happiness Cafe and single-mother, through her life in the time following her brother’s disappearance at age fifteen. Ever since the year he vanished, she has been receiving chapters of something called ‘The Guidebook’ from a pair of total strangers, offering a unique view on self-help. After years of searching for him, when she is invited to a retreat that offers to give her the book’s ‘truth,’ she can’t help but tie the two events together and go looking for answers.
Once she arrives, instead of finding her brother or immediately unraveling the truth that she’s looking for, she discovers a group of people with whom she joins a sort-of society and forms a strong bond. There is more to ‘The Guidebook’ than she originally suspected and, as the truth comes out, she finds herself deeply hooked in the process.
This book is so deep and thought-provoking that I already feel like I have to re-read it in order to truly absorb everything that it says about self-help, love and grief. For a book so strongly focused on the whimsical and the metaphorical, it is breathtakingly real. The various stories that run alongside each other (of her brother Robert’s disappearance, ‘The Guidebook”s unconventional group sessions, and Abigail’s best efforts to be a good parent to her young son, Oscar) are all incredibly captivating, and I found myself equally invested in all aspects of Abigail’s life.
Although Robert vanished years before the story begins, so we don’t experience his disappearance as though it is a fresh, new wound, we do experience the grief and loss that Abigail has felt for many years through flashbacks, excerpts from her past writings and present day story-telling. Her character has one of the most unique viewpoints and voices I have ever read in fiction and she is such a likeable, relatable character that I feel it would be difficult not to become invested in her journey and emotions.
The other characters too became surprisingly realistic throughout the novel. When we first meet a number of the other characters with whom Abigail grows close, such as Sasha and Pete, I found them to be somewhat one-dimensional and a little like caricatures. This only made it more rewarding for me when they developed to have their own voices, personalities and even side-stories alongside Abigail’s.
I loved this book. It is incredibly heavy in its descriptions of self-love and growth so at times it wasn’t the easiest book to get through, but its message and writing were both so beautiful and poignant that it didn’t come across as though the author was preaching or trying too hard to educate, which I loved. A number of the endorsements for this book describe it as ‘extraordinary’ and ‘an instant classic’ and, honestly, I agree with them completely.
If you want to pre-order this book, it comes out on January 2nd 2020 and you can get it right here. (I get a small commission if you use my link!).
If you’ve read this book already, let me know what you think! It’s definitely one of my favourite reads this year and I can already see myself making everyone I’ve ever met read it, too…