This week we are looking at a sophomore effort that manages to keep some of the more interesting storytelling decisions and at the same time show solid growth as a writer and storyteller. This week we are looking at Keep Me Afloat by Jennifer Gold.
With this effort, Gold continues to use dates rather than chapter numbers, though this time there is a bit more cohesion to the dates. Basically, once again we have a current day storyline with flashbacks to earlier events, but those events are the key moments of the relationship that our lead is mourning – when they met, their initial relationship, their wedding, their marriage, their main issues, etc. This is one of the key areas Gold shows that she is growing in her style and storytelling abilities, and it works much smoother this time around.
Once again, Gold manages to bring us the story of a seemingly childfree woman – she mentions a desire to be an aunt a time or two, but the only references to having kids of her own are from others – yet once again Gold doesn’t actually use the term. Which as a mild activist about being childfree myself – in that I am very open about it and make frequent jokes about it with friends and family as well as being active in a few childfree communities on Facebook – is a bit annoying. USE THE WORD ALREADY! (Also a mild joke, btw, and not a serious complaint. 🙂 )
The biggest change, however, in this story from the previous is that here, Gold deals with some very weighty issues – and you’ll likely want a few tissues on hand by the end – but manages to instill in the book a sense of hope, even as our lead finds herself quite lost and hopeless through much of the tale. It is here that Gold’s quiet strength and progress truly shines, and it gives great… hope 😉 … for her junior effort.
Truly a very much recommended book, and I am very much looking forward to the next one.
As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
Excellent Sophomore Effort. In this followup to 2019’s The Ingredients of Us, Gold does an excellent job of telling a serious tale of a woman struggling to learn to forgive herself while managing to keep the overall tone hopeful. Once again she plays around with using dates as chapter names, which is an interesting construct. Unlike Ingredients, this one uses a more month to month structure, with flashbacks to the same few years prior as events from those periods are revealed. This is also the second book where the lead, as it turns out, is childfree – and still Gold doesn’t actually use that term in the book itself. Overall truly a remarkable effort that shows Gold’s growth as a writer and storyteller. Very much recommended.