Sammy Goode's Reviews > A Note in the Margin

A Note in the Margin by Isabelle Rowan
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's review
Dec 01, 2011

really liked it
Read from December 01 to 06, 2011

A Note in the Margin...this was a difficult book to read. This book cut me to the core for many reasons and on many levels; so let me begin with a brief overview and then move on to how this book moved me on oh so many different levels.

John is "taking a break" from the corporate rat race. In fact, he must otherwise he will spin apart; perhaps have a nervous breakdown, a heart attack. One is never sure because Ms. Rowan is not specific in the reason; only that the break must occur or John will not survive. And so John invests in a small unassuming used book store named Margins. Here he meets and employs the son of the previous owner Jaime. Jaime, in turn, introduces John to the homeless man that every afternoon occupies an old leather chair in the back of the shop, sketching in his notebook and reading. And so the story begins...and you are sucked into the sometimes violent, ofttimes horrific life of David, a former corporate man, father and husband. A formerly closeted gay man...a shell of his former self...mentally broken, whoring for bus fair to travel to see the son whom he is never able to speak to or interact in fear and only sometimes dwelling in reality.

Wounded...broken...desperate...David...John--both equally fragile, equally needy, find each other.

This is not an easy story to read. My gut clenched often and unhappily as David worked his way back from the abyss to life with John, to love, to acceptance of himself, and forgiveness as well. Ms. Rowan paints a picture that is throbbing with realism, gritty with emotion and remarkable in it's depth. Her characters are achingly real; so much so that I found myself crying out loud, "NO, don't do it David, and oh hell go after him John". Several times the stark raw emotion leapt off the page forcing me to stop dead, turn off the kindle and step away. It was too much, too overwhelming.

Do not tread lightly into this book--for a light read it is not--at all. BUT...a worthwhile read...a stunning look into the homeless man's world...a glimpse into the intricacies of mental illness...yes, it is these and so much more. For, you see, at it's very core is a love story that is so sweeping in it's scope and tender in it's telling that you are swept along in it's mighty wake.

So, why the 4 stars--well really 4.5 stars--but I have yet to master the .5. It is a few small, niggling details that I felt were overlooked that caused the lack of 5 stars, The sudden and convenient disappearance of John's girlfriend. The one night stand between Jaime and John that I felt was not necessarily beneficial to the plot line overall. The less than satisfactory handling of John's decision to =leave behind his former life for good. Again, these were small details but they worried at the back of my mind enough for me to fall just shy of 5 stars.

I highly recommend this book. No, it is not an easy read. It is not always a happy read and if you are averse to angst then this is not the book for you...BUT...the payoff in the end...the beauty that is David's slow recovery... and the passion and love between John and David is worth every moment spent here. I will definitely read this author again---she has much to say and I am eager to listen.
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Quotes Sammy Goode Liked

Isabelle Rowan
“...there is more to life than the main story. Check out the notes in the margins because maybe they're even more important.”
Isabelle Rowan, A Note in the Margin

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Comments (showing 1-3)

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Laura I hope you like it!

Sammy Goode Laura wrote: "I hope you like it!"

Thanks Laura for picking it for me--just arrived on my kindle--starting it tonight!!

Juli I loved this book... a real heart tugger

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