It's Time to Meet Monica
Before I tell you why I adored this book, I want to explain why Stephanie Affinito suggested it to me. I was telling her all about the Kindred Spirit Mailbox where people go and leave their thoughts in journals. She was very intrigued and did an entire podcast about it (Listen Here). The idea of the mailbox reminded her of one of her favorite books, The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley. And there you have it!
Although the title of the blog is "It's Time to Meet Monica," it could have been Julian or Hazard or Riley or Alice or Lizzie. Each character was so well-developed that it was really difficult for me to choose just one. I focused on Monica because, although she didn't start the project, she seemed to be the glue that kept holding it together.
Julian is an elderly lonely man who writes his "authentic" story in a notebook and leaves the notebook for someone else to find and then to write their own story. Everyone who finds the notebook eventually meets. We get to see how being authentic and letting the world see it changes the world around you.
When I first met Monica, I thought she was a bit uptight and over-the-top. But I learned very quickly that she was kind, generous, and so very lonely. Eventually, I learned why, and my heart went out to her in a greater way. I think that is the way it is in real life, too. As we allow ourselves to get to know others and understand the why behind their actions, we have the opportunity to gain enormous empathy.
The thing I loved most about this book is that I cannot stop thinking about these characters. I want to know more. I've created endings - the happily-ever-after kind because those make me happy. But most importantly, I've wondered what it would be like to start my own notebook - or blog - or podcast - or something - that gave people the space to tell their own truth and allowed others to experience it and potentially make changes in their life because of it.
The book is set in the modern world, with topics like sex, drugs, and alcohol, but done with taste and without anything gratuitous. I highly recommend this novel and am grateful that Stephanie recommended it to me. If you read it, let me know your thoughts!
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Teri M Brown, author of An Enemy Like Me and Sunflowers Beneath the Snow connects readers with characters they'd love to invite to lunch.
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