Away From Everywhere is the cause of my second A-Z CanLit Challenge cheat. So far, I have been going in order, but for this book I am making an exception and skipping ahead two letters. All because I want Chad Pelley to be on my official A-Z list. He deserves it.
A while ago I read Every Little Thing, and loved it. Well, now I have fallen for his first book, Away From Everywhere. Which, by the way, is being made into a movie starring Jason Priestley, Shawn Doyle, and Joanne Kelly. So, quick, go read it! And, they better not mess it up.
Opening line: It was the harsh contrast of her blood on everything around them that he remembered the most. The whole first chapter was a page-turner, letting us know right away that things aren’t going to be easy for the characters in this book.
… love is beautiful in the same way a lion is. Half the beauty is in the sheer power of the thing. The control it has over you. And the chance it might tear you apart.
Love, in this book, is not a simple thing. It is messy, confusing, and painful. But, how to avoid it? And, do you even want to avoid it, while knowing what it may bring? The protagonist, Owen, spends the entire novel either searching for love or trying to ignore it. When he finally can’t ignore it any longer, the consequences are devastating.
… there is no escaping ourselves, our pasts. So how does one really let go and carry on?
Brothers, Owen and Alex, have a happy, ordinary childhood until the consequences of their father’s mental illness send the rest of their lives into a spin. The events that follow cause them to grow up into completely different men, and eventually tear them apart.
All we can ever do is assume things about each other… we can never really know each other. Because I think we wake up as a different person every day, based on what happened in all the days before the one in which we are living… At any given moment who we are can change. Hell, to a degree, every new person you meet changes you, every conversation. So, I don’t think anybody knows anybody… I don’t think anybody knows themselves, either.
The story of the brothers is interspersed with the journal entries of Hannah, Alex’s wife and Owen’s lover. Her entries help to give us a greater understanding of Hannah’s character as well as an intimate look at each of the brothers. Hannah’s thoughts also illuminate the complexities of love.
There is a reason they call it falling in love. It always happens by accident, and it’s always too late once it happens. You’ve already fallen, you’re already stuck. Right or wrong.
Things I Liked (Quick list to help keep me from going on and on):
- Getting a glimpse of what it might be like to have schizophrenia, or be close to someone who has it.
- Watching a terrible event ruin the way you think of yourself, and change the course of your life forever. (yes, this is morbid, but I like it)
- Seeing the waste alcohol can make of someone’s life. (more morbidity)
- The confliction in Hannah’s journal entries; nothing is simple and clear, especially not love.
- The author does not sugar coat things to make the reader feel better.
- At one point in the book, they were listening to Brian Borcherdt’s music. He is my friend’s younger brother. That’s kinda cool.
- The line: I don’t have to understand to listen.
Things I Didn’t Like:
1. There was absolutely nothing I could do to help the people in this book. (And, sorry to tell you, but you will not be able to do this, either.)
Plea to author: Chad Pelley, if by chance you ever read this, please write me another book!
22 thoughts on “Away From Everywhere by Chad Pelley”
So, in your A-Z project, does that mean you have to read every book by a Canadian author before you can move on to another author, or are you just hitting one and then going on to another one? Maybe your rules for yourself are a little too rigid if you have to break one to get to read a book you like. But I know it’s hard. I have just been haphazardly trying to pick up books for my Classics Club read, and now I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to fit in the attempt to read all the Walter Scott books into my reading habits!
No, I only need to read one book for each letter. And, I can read any other book I want at any time, which I why it’s taking me so long to get through the alphabet. But, going in order for my challenge makes me think more about which book I’m going to choose for it. When I realized I was pretty close to ‘P’, and there wasn’t really another ‘P’ author I was dying to read, I decided to skip ahead so I could include this book for my challenge. Officially, I’m on letter ‘N’, but the book I have picked out for it, I just don’t feel like reading yet, so I haven’t. I’ve been stuck on ‘N’ for a while now.
I see. Well, that seems very reasonable.
Oh, no. Is there no decency left. First we get global warming. Now you skip two letters. Next thing you know we will have cars driving themselves. What is the world coming to. 🙂
I know! I’ll try to get myself back on track. 🙂
This sounds like it has the potential of being a very emotional read, with the morbidity and the author’s lack of sugar-coating. The fact that this is finally a Canadian book I can get in the US totally makes up for the fact that you skipped two letters!
Yay – you can get it! Maybe because it was published in 2009. Out of the two of his books that I have read, this is definitely the darker one.
I am glad to hear everyone is so forgiving of my letter-skipping. 🙂
I’m so glad TJ can finally get one of the books you are recommending! A book about brothers dealing with a mentally ill father and their love for the same woman sounds like really dramatic story. I’m not surprised it’s being made into a movie!
I really hope they don’t mess with it!
Yes, poor TJ can never get any good books. She has to rely on books from all the other countries – she’s really missing out. 😉
Something terrible is sure to happen because you had the nerve to skip ahead in your challenge! Seriously though, I think challenges are there to be broken not followed slavishly.
I agree. 🙂
I really like the first quote you’ve selected. It gives a sense of the tensions and tangle of emotions that love can give rise to…it sounds like a very powerful, heart-rending story.
I was surprised by how sucked in I was while reading this. I often think, what more can be said about love in a novel? But, writers are good! They get me again and again.
Great review, as usual, Naomi! I always get a feel for the atmosphere of any book you read, which is what I look for in a review! I don’t believe I’ll be adding this to my TBR list(s) though–sounds very intense!! And…well…you did “cheat”! Ha! Ha! You crack me up! 😀
Maybe you would like his other book better, Every Little Thing – it’s not as dark as this one.
I’m really not as anal as I sound, Lynn. Really. 🙂
Love that line you quoted in your “Things I Liked” list!
Me too! And, the placement of it in the book is very effective, but I couldn’t talk about it without giving something away.
I’ve noticed a number of Canadian bloggers going out of their way to read more books by Canadian authors and I’m curious why that is. As someone in the US, I’d have to go out of my way not to read an American author. Is it not true that most books at libraries or book stores in Canada are by Canadian authors?
No, most books found around here are American. Our population just isn’t big enough to support the same numbers of books coming out of Canada. And, the libraries get in what people hear about and will be asking for. There are certainly many well-known and popular Canadian authors, but there are also so many that most Canadians have never heard of. It’s fun to seek them out and find the hidden gems.
Thanks for the info Naomi! I’m always interested in learning more about the world of publishing 🙂
I’m right there with you on this one: so moving, so gripping! Plus, I also really loved this cover. (The cover of the second is striking, but this is just beautiful, isn’t it?!)
I do love the cover, but it threw me off a bit at first. Going into it, I thought the book was going to be about fathers, sons, and brothers, so I was puzzled about why there was a man lying in a bed with an empty space next to him. But, now I see!