Sunday, August 3, 2014

Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen

Skipping a Beat

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

From the author of the acclaimed The Opposite of Me, a poignant, witty novel about marriage, forgiveness, and the choices that give shape—and limits—to our lives.

What would you do if your husband suddenly wanted to rewrite all of the rules of your relationship? This is the question at the heart of Skipping a Beat, Pekkanen’s thought-provoking second book.
From the outside, Julia and Michael seem to have it all. Both products of difficult childhoods in rural West Virginia – where they were simply Julie and Mike – they become high school sweethearts and fall in love. Shortly after graduation, they flee their small town to start afresh. Now thirty-somethings, they are living a rarified life in their multi-million-dollar, Washington D.C. home. Julia is a highly sought-after party planner, while Michael has just sold his wildly successful flavored water company for $70 million.

But one day, Michael collapses in his office. Four minutes and eight seconds after his cardiac arrest, a portable defibrillator jump-starts his heart. But in those lost minutes he becomes a different man. Money is meaningless to him - and he wants to give it all away. Julia, who sees bits of her life reflected in scenes from the world’s great operas, is now facing with a choice she never anticipated. Should she should walk away from the man she once adored – but who truthfully became a stranger to her long before this pronouncement - or give in to her husband's pleas for a second chance and a promise of a poorer but happier life?

As wry and engaging as her debut, but with quiet depth and newfound maturity, Skipping a Beat is an unforgettable portrait of a marriage whose glamorous surface belies the complications and betrayals beneath.

My thoughts:
I read this at the beach on a couple of very windy days.  It actually still has some sand still stuck in the pages.  I gave it to my mom to read and warned her that sand might fall out as she reads!

I picked up this book after reading a really good review either on someone's blog or on Goodreads and then I just let it sit on my shelf for a long time.  When I selected books for vacation reading it was one of the ones I grabbed and I am very glad that I did!  It raised a lot of good questions and points and resonated on a lot of different levels.  The first line is about the first time the main character's husband died.  Through flashbacks and rememberings you get the chance to see what Julie and Mike's life has been like lately, where they started from and how they got to where they are.  The changes they each made along the way and the overarching view that money cannot buy happiness.

Where did Michael go during the time he was dead?  Why is he so different now?  How can everything that was most important to him in life now take a back seat to his relationship with his wife?  Can she really agree to stay with him for a few more weeks to see how it goes or should she just put the call through to the lawyer whose card has been in her wallet for months?

Both Michael and Julia have changed a lot over the years.  Driven to not repeat the mistakes of their parents, but losing themselves along the way in the forward momentum.  Given the chance to slow down a bit and talk to each other and reconnect, what could happen?

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451609820
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press
  • Publication date: 2/22/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 352

Meet the Author

Sarah Pekkanen
Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally bestselling author of The Opposite of Me, Skipping a Beat, These Girls, and The Best of Us as well as a series of linked short stories for ereaders. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers. She lives with her family, including a rescue dog and cat, in Chevy Chase, Maryland

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