This Close to Okay

This Close to Okay

Series: Quick Lit January 2021

Cross-Smith's second novel (following her 2020 short story collection So We Can Glow) is a hard read in many ways and yet the story sucked me right in, and the propulsive plot kept me turning the pages. Though the subject matter is weighty, a strong sense of humor and snappy dialogue kept this book from feeling overwhelming (for me, but please mind your triggers). An added bonus was the novel's setting in the real-but-not-real location of Louisville; I enjoyed puzzling over which thinly disguised businesses, neighborhoods, and cities Cross-Smith had in mind. Heads up for an open door scene and serious content, including depression and suicide.

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About the Book

A powerful, vibrant novel about the life-changing weekend shared between two strangers, from the award-winning writer Roxane Gay calls “a consummate storyteller.”

On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home when she spots a man precariously standing on the edge of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally, reluctantly, shares his first name: Emmett.

Over the course of the emotionally-charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe and comfortable space for Emmett, although she doesn’t confess that she works as a therapist. However, Emmett is not the only one who needs help—and he has secrets of his own.

Alternating between Tallie and Emmett’s perspectives as they inch closer to the truth of what brought Emmett to the bridge, This Close to Okay is an uplifting, powerful story of two strangers brought together by wild chance at the moment they need it the most.

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