Books are emotion-teachers

Novels are a wonderful means of getting to know emotions, and of understanding the motivation behind actions that don’t seem to make sense. As you get to know each character, you’re learning a mindset, a life story, a way of life. It puts you into the minds of people far different from you, and into situations that you’ll never find yourself in. Yet good writers make their characters flawed, someone you can empathize with, and who grow and change over the course of the novel. Reading fiction is a wonderful way to learn about emotions and empathy. There are many really good books out there (and many not-so-great ones) that are enjoyable reads, and can teach you about your own emotions.

The following book review is one such emotionally intelligent and empathetic novel that captivates your imagination and your heart.

Miss You by Kate Eberlen

This is a book of multiple meanings, a book which does sadness and the ways that we avoid feeling sadness, a book whose characters grow and change in uncannily relatable ways. This book does bittersweet, it explains the motivation behind not changing and behind the fear of change, and the storyline grips you in a way that takes over your dreams.

I was taken with the vulnerability portrayed by Tess and Gus, the ways that they coped with grief, the feeling of familiarity with the scenes, and the effortless way that the years are stitched together. It gives a feeling that you’ve been there with them through all of it, without having to slog through a reading of the dailyness of it.

The best part about this novel is the double meaning of the title: Miss You. The two main characters meet fleetingly in the first chapters, then their lives part and you’re left wondering when and if they’ll meet again. All the while their paths intersect without them ever meeting face to face.

The multiple story lines and the relatable characters with their gaffs and flaws and secret dreams make for an engaging and entertaining read that delves into the emotional nuance of losing a loved one when grief isn’t ok. I’m still thinking about this book weeks after reading it (OK, devouring it), and feeling a bit sad that this is Eberlen’s debut novel, since it means I’ll have to wait a while before the next one comes out.