Books are amazing. They are an avenue for adventure, imagination, thought, learning something new, and discovering something within yourself. I was presented the opportunity to read and review a book by up and coming author, Ericka Clay. To be honest, it wasn’t a book that I’d probably choose immediately on my own, but this is the great thing about books. If we step outside of our regular list of genres and try something different, you may discover a wonderful book you never would have known existed.
Dear Hearts has a familiar backdrop of a family that seems okay on the outside, but is unstable and in pain on the inside. Mitch and Elena are a married couple with a little girl, Wren. On the surface, they look like the typical American family. Dad has his own business, and mom stays at home with the child. But their relationship is much more complex, and life in general has become challenging. Daughter Wren is seven and still cannot control her bladder, which adds tension and stress (and is probably psychologically linked to her parent’s relational issues). Both do not know how to cope with their relationship problems, so they drink, which usually leads to fights, and Mitch has become attracted to a man.
As you move through the book, you get the perspectives of both Mitch and Elena and see the hurt that both have placed on themselves and each other. Without giving too much away, you start to see that the secret worlds that each of these two cling to are a means to escape, a way to feel good, or at least better, without addressing their real problems. They both start to realize this toward the end, but the book leaves you open, without a real conclusion. Does this mean a book two? Or are you free to make your own conclusions?
Being a novella, it was a quick read. Sometimes it felt too quickly paced. The book throws you into the anger and pain right away, almost feeling like you skipped a chapter leading up to what was happening. I felt like I had to play catch up, but once I caught on, the book read smoothly and kept me reading. There were definite dark undertones to the book and it was littered with some great wit as well as the original and well placed analogies. Multiple times, I found myself smiling and chuckling when Elena compared her friend’s daughter to her sister-in-law: “…and I pray she isn’t cursed like Mitch’s sister, Tammy, who looks like a stillborn kitten.”
With these dark quips thrown in throughout the book, it definitely gave off a J.D Salinger, Catcher in the Rye vibe, with a dry and dark humor paired with a tough subject of complex relationships and what we go through for others. Overall, it was a very well written book and I look forward to picking up another Ericka Clay book. Hopefully we’ll find out if she plans on following up with this family with a second novella. I know I’d like to found out if the family was ever able to reconcile and fight for their relationship to heal.
Check out Ericka’s site at #Tipsylit or go on Amazon and pick up her book!
Overall rating: 7.5/10