** spoiler alert **
Marla Miniano is back with a new book, this time telling the story of four people who happen to hang out in the same coffee shop, and sometimes even at the same table. Table for Two
is a collection of five stories of people from all walks of life, choosing a coffee shop to witness the changes in their lives, and ultimately connecting them in one way or another.
A bit of a spoiler warning
starts here, but there's nothing major. Just be forewarned. :)Table for Two
starts out with Fresh
, a story of the end of the relationship of a long-time couple when they realized that after graduation, they need to go their separate ways. Timeout
is about Jill, a teacher, who follows her brother's advice to stop dating for two months to stop herself from dating losers. All the Best
is about best friends Carl and Blake, and Carl's attempt at stopping Blake from marrying Vicky out of concern for his best friend but failing to recognize that he was in more need of relationship advice. This Closure
is about Lucas who never really got over Bettina and their shared kiss. The last story, Table for Two
brings us to a full circle with Mandy and her independence and her penchant for romance novels.
This book reminds me so much of Para Kay B
by Ricky Lee, with all these stories of different people about love that connects them to each other somewhat. I liked Para Kay B
but I liked this more because I saw a bit of myself at every story. True, I've never been in a relationship, and I've never broken up with anyone or been broken up with, but there's a part of each of the character that resonated with me. I believe other readers will be able to identify with the characters somehow, too, and this makes Marla's novel a good one for the older audience as compared to the Girl's Guide series.
I think out of all stories, my favorite is the last, Table for Two.
One thing notable thing about this book -- particularly this story -- is there were so many quotable quotes! For example:
"...falling in love and trying to make someone fall in love with you and working to stay in love and forcing yourself to fall out of love with someone who will never love you back is much, much more exhausting than being alone." (p. 120)
"It's the little things she needs someone for, like someone to hold her hand at the end of a long day, or someone to watch stupid comedies with, or someone to curl up with on the couch on a lazy Sunday morning as she reads the newspaper and eats her cereal. Which probably means she doesn't 'need' someone in the strictest sense, although at the end of a long day, or while watching a stupid comedy, or on a lazy Sunday morning, having someone would be very much appreciated." (p. 133)
The only thing I could have wished for in this book is stronger connections between the stories. I was very curious to see the connections of the story, almost making me want to skip all the way to the ending, and when I got to the end, I got just a teensy bit disappointed. But it's still a very, very good read. Wonderful prose, good stories, and perfect reading companion on a rainy day with a mug of coffee or hot chocolate. It doesn't have to be in a coffee shop between the Korean grocery and appliance store -- an over-commercialized Starbucks would probably do. :P