Monday, June 23, 2014

A Love Story to Beat All (or at least most) Love Stories

Rachael Herron's Pack Up the Moon is a love story on several different levels.  It's the love of parents (Kate and Nolan) for a son (Robin).  It's the unrequited (or is it?) love of biological parents (Kate and Nolan) for a daughter (Pree).  It's the love of 2 moms (Isi and Marta) for their adopted daughter (Pree).  And it's the love of a girl/boy/woman/man (Kate and Nolan) for each other, with a couple of separations thrown in (and a happily every after? - I'm not tellin').

But, most importantly, this is one terrific read.  Let me chronicle some of my reactions:

P. 36 - My 1st (of many) tears
P. 37 - "Whoa!  Holy s__t!
PP. 118-125 - I love the description of how Isi and Marta are chosen by Kate to become Pree's adopted parents.  (I cried twice in those 8 pages.)
P. 275 - I love/hate how tough it was to read about how Robin passed away (don't worry - this is right in the synopsis of the book).
P. 289 - "Oh my God, Oh my God."
P. 300 - "Oh my God, Oh my God."  And this was my reaction to something I already knew was going to happen!

Here are some other elements (what is this, a chemistry chart?) of the book that I really like:

I love that Kate, and then Pree, use colors to describe voices (it reminded me of The Language of Flowers).
I love how the book takes place in 2014 but skips back in time to what always seems like the appropriate place.
I love the fact that there are moments of awkwardness among family members that make perfect sense.  Rachael never takes the easy/cheesy way out.

And I love the writing:
Here's a description of the 2 adoptive mothers being at Kate's bedside during delivery - even before Kate chooses them for Pree:  "Marta, on the other side of her, brushed the hair from Kate's sweaty forehead.  'Butch in the streets,' she said, and Isi said 'Oh, stop,' and the affection in their voices flowed over Kate like sunshine.  It didn't feel like they were auditioning - it felt like they wanted to be there, like somehow they cared, and it had been so long since she felt it that she leaned toward it like a sun-starved daisy."

Here's where Pree describes her boss, Jimmy:  "He was the kind of handsome that belonged on a TV show about motorcycles."

And here is Nolan describing Kate, during one of their separations:  "It didn't matter what she was actually laughing about as her voice trilled up and then went so satisfyingly back down again.  It was solid.  You could rest a cup of coffee on that laugh."

In case you haven't figured it out, I strongly recommend this book.  AND Rachael will be at VHOB on July 15, with Sophie Littlefield (I really liked her book, House of Glass) and Gigi Pandian (I haven't read her yet - but I will).  I am truly excited to have these 3 authors at our store.  Come on by.  We're going to have a great time.

ADMISSION OF PERSONAL CONNECTION:  Although I don't believe that it affected my enjoyment of the book, I have to say that I am personally connected to several of the plotlines:

1.  Kate's house in Oakland is about 2 miles from where I lived from the time I was 14 until I got married at 21.  My parents lived there for 30 years.
2.  On the bottom of P. 43, Kate is concerned about having sex with Nolan for the 1st time:  "...she would laugh at him on accident..."  My own kids always said on accident instead of by accident.
3.  On Page 129, Kate gets stopped by a police officer for running a red light and almost causing an accident.  Kate says:  "She was so getting a ticket."  About a year ago, when we told our then 8-year old granddaughter, Haley, the story about how we left her Aunt Lauren back at our house when she was 4, Haley said to us:  "That is so bad parenting." I think it's the 1st time since Haley's comment that I heard "so" used that way.


  1. Your enthusiasm in infectious, so I've added this book to my list!

    1. Isn't it so much fun to recommend a book that you enjoyed so much? All you want is for others to enjoy it as much as you did.
      P.S. 1 of the 3 books I sold at Recycle Bookstore this past Sunday was CeeCee. Both of your books are always near the front of my table.

  2. Just added the book (and you) to my goodreads list!

    1. And I just accepted your Goodreads invitation. Thanks for the invite.