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Hi everyone! I know this is a little late, but happy new year and I hope you all are crushing it with your resolutions! This week’s review is going to be on Circle of Three, by Patricia Gaffney.
The book takes place during the aftermath following a tragic loss. But, while a family is trying to heal and move forward, they really take a look at the nature of their relationships with one another and start to question certain critical choices people make, ultimately altering life’s trajectory that might not always pan out the way we expect it to.
More specifically, the mother (Carrie) and daughter (Ruth) mourn the death of their husband and father (Stephen). It also primarily incorporates Carrie’s mother (Dana), who, amidst the family’s evident tension, grudgingly accepts the fact that she isn’t getting any younger and expresses feelings concerning her own marriage throughout the story.
After months of Carrie remaining unemployed, overeating as well as sleeping long hours in order to cope, she’s suddenly offered two completely different job opportunities, an office position (which Dana insists is a good fit for her) and the other – helping create a life-size Noah’s Ark replica. (don’t ask!) Wanting to be a better parent to Ruth than she’s been since Stephen passed, she accepts both. One is where Carrie befriends a co-worker, and the other gives her the chance to meaningfully reconnect with the man she never stopped loving.
Amongst the craziness Carrie goes through, Ruth is obviously taking her father’s death hard. From enduring regular teenage angst on top of grief and spending time with a guy who obsesses over morbidity, to landing a part-time job and running away after a shocking revelation, Gaffney expertly digs deep into the vast complexities of a relationship between a mother and daughter and husband and wife.
What I absolutely adore about Circle of Three is how self-reflective the main characters are. The concept that struck me is often, we choose to just accept things for what they are, but then a seismic shift occurs, sometimes prompting us to expose ugly truths by thinking back on how we’ve felt about major decisions we made thinking they were out of love. However, what complicates these types of decisions is that the love is mixed with obligation, fear, and influence… And as cheesy as it sounds, these factors cause us to not necessarily remain true to our hearts or what we’ve known all along is right. In the end, it isn’t until everything’s out in the open when the actual healing process begins.