My super bestest reading friend Kelly and I were on Twitter a few weeks ago discussing how much we both loved Ruthie Knox’s latest novella, Making it Last (look for my post about it coming in the next week or so.) Anyway, we started telling Ruthie on Twitter how much we loved Making it Last because how real and realistic it felt. It was a romance novel completely embedded in real life. She responded back to us, thanking us for the praise of her book and telling us that we needed to read The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers. Knox’s recommendation was all I needed to give this debut novelist a shot. And goddamn it, I am so happy I did.
I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park. Kissing only.
Carrie West is happy with her life . . . isn’t she? But when she sees this provocative online ad, the thirtysomething librarian can’t help but be tempted. After all, the photo of the anonymous poster is far too attractive to ignore. And when Wednesday finally arrives, it brings a first kiss that’s hotter than any she’s ever imagined. Brian Newburgh is an attorney, but there’s more to his life . . . that he won’t share with Carrie. Determined to have more than just Wednesdays, Carrie embarks on a quest to learn Brian’s story, certain that he will be worth the cost. But is she ready to gamble her heart on a man who just might be The One . . . even though she has no idea how their love story will end?
Before I begin my review I want to quickly explain what a “story guy” is, because I’ll use that terminology again later. It’s best I let Rivers explain it in her own words:
“Story guys are like life highlighters. Your life is all these big blocks of gray text, and then a story guy comes in with a big ol’ paragraph of neon pink so that when you flip back through your life, you can stop and remember all the important and interesting places.”
Mary Ann Rivers is MY story guy. I’m going to look back on my time reading this novella and realize that it had a profound impact on my life. Her prose is poetry. Her story is perfect. Her observations on loneliness and human nature are profound. Her writing…exquisite. I sit here trying to formulate words adequate enough to convince you to spend the $0.99 and read this work.
My first thought when I finished this novella was that Rivers is going to have an extremely long and successful future as a writer. Well that was the first coherent thought I had. Mostly at first it was all WOW. WOW. WOW. Rivers’ gift as a writer is in her ability to study human nature and the human psyche and make it relevant, significant, and relatable. Carrie and Brian are two of the most beautifully flawed characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Their flaws and insecurities are what make them and their story so unique and important. The two of them make me think of a quote Augusten Burroughs wrote in his book Magical Thinking:True Stories: “I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.”
I know that this review is vastly shorter than my normal ones, but I find myself truly incapable of finding any more words to tell you how amazing of a read this is. It’s simply an experience you need to have for yourself. Reading The Story Guy will be one of the best reading decisions you make. I guarantee it.
5 out of 5 Stars
The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers
Random House (Loveswept) (2013)
eBook: 120 pages
Special thanks to Random House/Loveswept for my review copy via Netgalley!