Saturday, December 16, 2017

My 2nd 4/4 of 2017! - Close Enough to Touch, by Colleen Oakley

I have read a lot of very good books this year.  When I actually do a count, I imagine I will have at least 2 dozen books with a rating of 3.5 or higher.  But I was surprised to learn today that I only had one 4/4, prior to Colleen Oakley's Close Enough to Touch (btw, it's A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles).  This is so darn good.  I'm going to blurb you right away:

Jubilee Jenkins has a rare condition:  she's allergic to human touch.  After a nearly fatal accident, she became reclusive, living in the confines of her home for nine years.  But after her mother dies, Jubilee is forced to face the world - and the people in it - that she's been hiding from.
Jubilee finds safe haven at her local library where she gets a job.  It's there she meets Eric Keegan, a divorced man who recently moved to town with his brilliant, troubled, adopted son.  Eric is struggling to figure out how to be the dad - and man - he wants so desperately to be.  Jubilee is unlike anyone he has ever met, yet he can't understand why she keeps him at arm's length.  So Eric sets out to convince Jubilee to open herself and her heart to everything life can offer, setting into motion the most unlikely love story of the year.

I don't really know how to begin this review.  I've got so much to talk about.  But I will give it a try.  Here goes:

1.  It's been a long time since I've had a takeaway from a book.  Well, I got one here.  There is a scene between Eric and his daughter, Ellie, in which Eric had no idea what Ellie was thinking.  He is flabbergasted when she tells him.  What's the takeaway you ask?  It's that you can't always know what somebody is thinking unless they decide to let you in on it.  So don't judge at least until you know what's going through the other person's mind.  I had a takeaway from another book about not judging someone unless you have experienced what they have gone through.  This one is an adjunct of that.
2.  As the blurb says in the last sentence, this is a fantastic love story. Does the guy get the girl, or vice versa?  You'll have to read it to find out. I will tell you, though, that the ending reminded me of Stephen King's 11/22/63 (and I'm sure you remember what I thought of that book!). Both King and Oakley had a chance to take the easy way out...and didn't.
3.  The key relationship is between Eric and Jubilee, obviously.  But Jubilee has other relationships that grabbed me nearly as hard as the one she has with Eric (I'm not telling you anything more than that).  And Eric has significant moments with his two kids.  This book is NOT a one-trick pony.
4.  Wow did I get hit with tons of emotional moments.  But here's the funny part.  It didn't start really affecting me until about halfway through the book.  And from that point on...BOOM!  It's a little bit like A Man Called Ove.  It just grew and grew on me.  I liked CEtT a lot from the get-go.  But it took a while before I started getting gobsmacked.  (P.S. There is a moment where I think my heart melted a little bit.  We'll discuss it after you've read the book.)  So, if you are soft-hearted, like me, and prone to emotional upheavals, like me, then be prepared for chills, OMGs, Holy Mackerels, and lots and lots of tears.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  But you will still thank me when you finish.
5 & 6.  I have just made an important decision.  I'm going to give you a Part II for this blog.  I want to give you some examples of Colleen's excellent writing.  And I also want to tell you about several parts of the book that resonated with me on a personal level (besides the takeaway, that is).  Stay tuned.



  1. Great review. Glad to discuss anytime!

  2. Adding it to my GR list - such a long list but it will be on it.

  3. I saw Oakley when she did an event here but, sadly, haven't read any of her books yet. I need to get with it!

    1. Yes you do! And I have to get a hold of her 1st one.

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