***** 2017 Kindle Book Awards WINNER - Literary Fiction *****
New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett has written her most gripping and poignant tale yet. Provocatively heart-breaking, audaciously irreverent and romantically fulfilling, The Hard Truth About Sunshine exposes just how very thin the line is between a full life and an empty existence.
Despite having narrowly escaped death's clutches, Christopher Barlow is grateful for nothing. His capacity to love has been crushed. He hates everyone and everything, completely unable to see past the gray stain of misery that coats his perception of the world. It's only after he involuntarily joins a band of depressed misfits who are struggling to overcome their own problems, does Christopher start to re-evaluate his lot in life.
What could they possibly learn from one another? How could they possibly help each other to heal? And the question that Christopher asks himself over and over again... can he learn to love again?
He's about to find out as he embarks upon a cross country trip with a beautiful woman who is going blind, a boy with terminal cancer, and an abuse victim who can't decide whether she wants to live or die.
Four people with nothing in common but their destination. They will encounter adventure, thrills, loss and love. And within their travels they will learn the greatest lesson of all.
The hard truth about sunshine...
Warning: This book deals with some tough issues including suicide and sexual abuse.
Words fail me in trying to explain my reaction to The Hard Truth of Summer by Sawyer Bennett. This is not her usual, sexy novel. It is a story of four misfits who meet in a therapy group, two, who are court ordered, and the cross-country field trip they take. The story is told through Christopher’s voice. Christopher is an angry veteran injured in the line of duty and deserted by his family and girl as he heals. He sees no good in the world around him and in himself. On the journey he is accompanied by a beautiful woman who is going blind, a boy with terminal cancer, and an abuse victim who doesn’t know if she wants to live or die. Four people with nothing in common, encounter adventure, thrills, love and loss as they learn about and from one another.
This was an intriguing and interesting story with very authentic characters. Ms. Bennett wrote an excellent story teller capturing the reader in the web of this story. Despite being a difficult story to read, I still highly recommend this book to other readers.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
The Hard Truth About Sunshine
The first and only book I read by this author was a sweet love story so I was not prepared for this one. Though complete opposites, they were both very well written. I intend to read more of her books for that reason. I love books that make me feel for the characters, and this author certainly knows how to accomplish that.
A Powerful Story That I Won't Soon Forget
I was a little hesitant to start this because I knew it would be different from any Sawyer Bennett book I had read before. I'm so glad I didn't let that stop me though, because this book was amazing. It was a raw and brutally honest look at life, death, and everything in between. The author didn't pull any punches, and topics such as suicide and sexual abuse play key roles in the journey of our characters.
The story is told from the point of view of former marine Christopher, who has lost part of his leg and hand and suffers from depression and PTSD. He is so angry and bitter at the path his life has taken, it doesn't seem possible that he will ever climb out of his emotional prison. When he begrudgingly embarks on this cross country bucket list adventure with Jillian, Barb, and Connor, he has no idea how it will change him and everyone involved. This group was like the Breakfast Club meets the Goonies, with a whole lot of anger, depression, and death thrown in. There were certainly heavy times through the book, but there were also moments of much needed levity and humor. I felt the author handled the topics of suicide and sexual abuse honestly and realistically. My heart broke as each character's past and probable future was divulged and was particularly moved by terminally ill Connor.
This is a book to be experienced (with tissues ready) and I highly recommend the audiobook narrated by Lance Greenfield as well. His performance is so passionate and moving, that the more emotional scenes were nothing short of incredible. When I finished this book, I kept hearing the song "What Sarah Said" by Death Cab for Cutie in my mind. One line in that song has always stuck out to me - "love is watching someone die, so who's gonna watch you die?" Though a sad sentiment at first glance, I personally feel it's what it means to truly love someone. Standing with them through the pain, set backs, and heartbreak and ultimately as they say goodbye. Like life, not everyone in this story gets a happily ever after, but the underlying message is choice. Choice to let grief overwhelm you. Choice to live what life you have left fully. Choice to leave on your own terms. Choice to open your heart and love and be loved in return. This is a powerful story that I won't soon forget.