I had known about Sarah Pekkanen’s books for a while, and actually had a couple of them on my bookshelf at home, but it wasn’t until Amber convinced me that I had to read her NOW that I finally picked them up. Why did I wait so long?!
Sarah writes women’s fiction flawlessly. Her portrayal of the relationships between women is so spot on. Whether it’s between sisters, friends, frenemies, or neighbors, Sarah is able to write women that make readers think “Yes! That is exactly how I would think/feel/act,” yet her books are in no way predictable. How can she write like this?! So. Much. Talent.
The book I chose as my #PekkanenPick is Things You Won’t Say because it was the book I was reading when I was lucky enough to meet Sarah Pekkanen (and my fellow Midwest Ladies Who Lit ♥).
In case you haven’t read this one yet, the book blurb:
In this timely and provocative novel, internationally bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen takes us inside a family in crisis and a marriage on the brink after a tragic shooting
How far would you go to save your family?
Every morning, as her husband Mike straps on his SIG Sauer and pulls on his heavy Magnum boots, Jamie Anderson tenses up. Then comes the call she has always dreaded: There’s been a shooting at police headquarters. Mike isn’t hurt, but his long-time partner is grievously injured. As weeks pass and her husband’s insomnia and disconnectedness mount, Jamie realizes he is an invisible casualty of the attack. Then the phone rings again. Another shooting but this time Mike has pulled the trigger.
But the shooting does more than just alter Jamie’s world. It’s about to change everything for two other women. Christie Simmons, Mike’s flamboyant ex, sees the tragedy as an opportunity for a second chance with Mike. And Jamie’s younger sister, Lou, must face her own losses to help the big sister who raised her. As the press descends and public cries of police brutality swell, Jamie tries desperately to hold together her family, no matter what it takes.
In her characteristic exploration of true-to-life relationships, Sarah Pekkanen has written a complex, compelling, and openhearted novel her best yet.
What struck me the most when I first began reading is the relevancy of this book to current events throughout the U.S. It turns out that when Sarah began writing Things You Won’t Say, many of these current events weren’t at the forefront of the news. She had an idea for a story that would be the ultimate test for a wife, a family and a community.
The emotions I went through while reading this novel were extreme. I was
up and down with each of the characters (well except for Lou because she is seriously the heart of gold). I could instantly relate to each of the characters, especially the two main female characters, Jamie and Christie. Their struggle to find their way through everything that arises after Mike’s incident, and the way they have to ultimately find some kind of friendship in the most unlikely place… each other.
So, for the record. Sarah Pekkanen writes books that are beautiful, masterful, and will make you laugh as well as cry. She is also one of the most genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. When Amber, Amy, Kris and I got to talk with her, I realized how dedicated she is to her readers and also to life: her family, her friends, and making memories. If you want to meet an inspiration, go to one of Sarah’s author events (and if you’re lucky, she might even give you a good recommendation for wine).