The forecasters told everyone not to worry, that the storm would blow out to sea. But, as we so often see, they were wrong and the small island of Haven (one ‘e’ short of Heaven), off the coast of New Jersey, got battered by Hurricane Sandy. To make matters worse, Mira Banul’s mother, Mickey, and younger brother, Jasper Lee, were at a mainland hospital for Jasper Lee’s weekly treatment.
Mira went to sleep listening to the rain and a strong wind. She woke up with the downstairs of her house flooded, dead fish floating in her kitchen, her second story deck alist and no way for her and Sterling, her recently adopted cat, to get their feet/paws on solid ground.
However, for some reason unknown to Mira, Old Carmen who lived on the beach during the ‘off-season’ and disappeared during tourist season, chose to rescue Mira. She threw Mira a life line that she could shimmy down. It was Old Carmen who took in the strays–pets and people–kept the fire going, caught fish to cook and kept vigil.
I realized after finishing This Is the Story of You that Beth Kephart creates wonderful main characters but extraordinary secondary characters: Old Carmen in This Is the Story of You and Estela in Small Damages (which you must read) come immediately to mind.
This Is the Story of You is a testament to people’s ability to survive and band together (especially in this current era of hate, fear and devisiveness) . It is about three best friends who care so much about each other. It is about a girl who is ‘medium’ at everything but stands strong in the face of adversity.
Although foreign to most of us, readers will picture living on the beach, seeing detritus floating on the ocean water, yearning to hear about news of neighbors and friends. They’ll feel the pangs of pain at not knowing, the uncertainty.
This Is the Story of You is a story about unity and trust and family and is a welcome addition to my Beth Kephart library.