To be honest, when I first picked up this book I had no idea what it would be about. Textual Healing? Is that some kind of “Texters Anonymous” type of meeting? Upon reading the back of the book, the mystery deepened. “Few people have to deal with a haiku-speaking flower-shop-owning ninja every day on their way to work. Unfortunately for Andrew Connor, he is one of those people.” Alas, upon reading that, I had to give it a try! Kim’s contact (and friend) at Quirk Books, Eric Smith, was happy to offer us a copy to review, so I dove right in, now nervous about the prospect of ninjas on my own commute to work.
Andrew Connor is an average Joe. Well, at least that’s how he sees himself. The world predominantly views him as the author of Chasing Fireflies, the New York Times bestseller that was made into a made-for-tv movie on HBO starring Edward Norton and Penelope Cruz. However, that was a few years ago, and Andrew hasn’t written anything since. To add insult to injury, he finds his book for a paltry $1.37 at the local Barnes & Noble. Terrified that his writing has become something of a one-hit-wonder, Andrew mulls joining a self-help group known as Textual Healing, run by his friend Stephanie. If that wasn’t enough his girlfriend, Daniela, has left him as well. If it seems like Ace’s life (his friends call him Ace) is in a sad state of affairs, then that wouldn’t be too far from the truth. However, he does have a few things going for him. He runs a moderately successful bookshop in Hoboken, NJ, has a number of good friends which he can rely on in his time of crisis, and has struck up a new friendship (and perhaps something more?) with a certain someone named Hannah. Will Ace be able to overcome his sophomore slump? What will happen between him and Hannah? Will he ever get over his ex?
I have to give Eric a lot of credit for his humor. His wordy jokes and self-deprecating humor (or Ace’s humor shall we say) kept the story light and good-natured. Even the initial breakup between Ace and Daniela has a healthy dose of humor that kept things in perspective. Eric’s story appeals to the emotions in all of us: loss of a relationship, feelings of inadequacy and failure, apprehension about meeting someone new, etc. Therefore, although the story does seem lighthearted on the surface it really does have a meaning behind the words. In connecting with our shared experiences Eric taps into feelings that we’ve all shared and makes us feel better about the many uncertainties in life. It’s as if he’s making a dramatic example using the number of pitfalls that Ace experiences all at once, but he’s telling us that it will get better as long as you have the courage to pick yourself up and move on. It’s positive thinking like this that I feel is lacking in a lot of media today, where we’re constantly bombarded with the gloom and doom of life. I feel that if more people thought like Ace does in this book, we’d be a lot better off and more self-assured. So, as a quick pep talk and fun read, this book will make you laugh and reconsider your own thoughts about how you handle the tests life throws at you. Also, it’ll make you reconsider buying a sugar glider as a pet. So, with that in mind, pick this up and give it a try!
4 out of 5 stars