When I read, I read the ENTIRE book. Introductions, prologues, acknowledgments, notes from the author, epilogues, EVERYTHING. Katherine Center put the book's acknowledgments in the very beginning. Unfortunately, it spoiled the book for me. I knew exactly what was going to happen (seeing as she thanked people for their very specific input) and it turned me off immediately. I would have preferred the acknowledgments to have been in the back of the book. But hey you can't please everyone (and you shouldn't try).
All is forgiven
Margaret Jacobsen is successful, beautiful, dating her dream guy, and everything about her life has the feel of upward momentum. She has the world at her fingertips and then PLOT TWIST. What starts off as the best day of her life ends in tragedy. Katherine's life is quickly and dramatically changed. Things that were once easy, her career, her relationships, her self-esteem, soon become nearly unbearable reminders of her new life.
How to Walk Away is a love story but not in the cheesy, worn out sort of way. First of all, I was rooting against Chip (the dream guy) from the beginning. I know most people like the "we've made it through it all" relationship survival stories but Chip just isn't what I wanted for Margaret.
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My favorite thing
I love how Margaret describes her feelings. She has to work her way through every emotion under the sun. And the majority of the time Margaret has to work through emotional polar opposites at the same time. Love, hate, disgust, self-loathing, annoyance, suicidal thoughts, happiness, peace, frustration, fear, joy, acceptance, etc all hit her like a ton of bricks. I feel at least two ways about almost everything so Margaret's emotional process is relatable.
When horribly depressed at her newfound state, but also presented with good news Margaret describes herself as being equally happy and sad. My favorite quote from the book (and the one that most accurately describes my emotional state on any given day) is:
"If you think of human emotion as music, then mine were like an orchestra with no conductor"
Katherine Center does an amazing job of giving the characters emotional depth and unique personalities. Margaret is front and center but she's not the only 'thing' happening. Kit (her older sister) comes homes, after her 3-year hiatus from the family, with lunch, sisterly support, and a closet full of family skeletons. Chip is just eeeehhhhwww. He is awash with grief, self-pity, and the worst kind of selfishness. (I already told you I didn't like him) Ian is a tall drink of water with an iron-clad lid on it. And Margaret's parents are polar opposites trying to support their daughter in her time of need. It's a well-rounded cast.
How to Walk Away
Love story aside, How to Walk Away is also the story of one woman's struggle to live. Margaret faces insurmountable difficulties and Katherine Center brings you along Margaret's physical growth right alongside the emotional. No spoilers, but I will say this book demonstrates that there really is more than one kind of happy ending.
The bottom line
Just read it.
How to Walk Away thrills, surprises, and even tugs at a heart string or two. If you enjoy stories that cause emotional investment then this is a read for you. It's not quite an ugly cry (like Me Before You) but it may pull a tear. Katherine Center has several other stories about love and family that I'll be adding to my ever growing TBR pile.
Read How to Walk Away and let me know what you think!