Gravity is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty
Since she was a teenager...and beginning the same year her brother (less than a year younger) disappeared...Abi has gotten mysterious chapters from something named The Guidebook. As the present day story opens, Abi has placed her son in his grandparents' care because an all expenses paid trip promises to reveal the truth about the book. This excursion leads to several important relationships and a series of "formal" lessons....though I wont say what they are about. These chapters fit in with some from her past, including her brother's story, her romantic past, her son's arrival, and the creation of her coffeeshop.
This book is incredibly hard to describe. There's a lot that seems silly...but that's self-acknowledged at all times. And that makes it more than just tolerable. We're sharing the giggles with a fascinating cast. I'd have liked to know more about some of those secondary characters and yet I'm also ok with not knowing bc that's what life typically offers....a glimpse, a few details, but not omniscience.
Ultimately, this is a happy and heartwarming read. It is original in plot and form. It is quirky but it works.
I adored Abi...even if she frustrated me at times. She is a far from perfect person, but I like my characters to be fleshy, to have hearts but also scars, strengths but imperfections. She loves her son, but tries of him too. And she wants love, but is also wholly complete alone.
I can't really put a finger on the answer to what this books is about beyond simply being about life and about living it. Reaching and striving but feeling whole in one's self and at peace in one's surroundings.
4.5 stars. I'm not sure what's keeping it from a true 5, but will round up. Thank you to the publisher for the advance copy.