Sometimes I read a book, and it goes beyond my expectations. I want to share the wonder (which I will at the end of this post in a giveaway). I’m an avid reader and love books for the sake of a good story. So even if it’s not the best book ever written, I still appreciate the time, skill, and imagination the author put into it. Stories feed my soul. I rarely read one I don’t like.
But then there are authors like Amy Harmon. My hero. Every book she puts out is like the most divine, decadent feast I can imagine. Her stories are not just dessert. They are solid food for my heart and soul. Nourishing. Filling. I don’t finish them and hunger. They linger in my heart for weeks, months, even years. Their messages change me. Inspire me. Make me want to be kinder, stronger, braver.
I still will read A Different Blue by Harmon when I yearn for a good redemption story, even though I’ve read it many times. My daughter too. Her books are THAT good. Amy’s newest book is no exception. The Smallest Part made me fall in love all over again. I loved the words, and kept highlighting passages the whole way through to return and savor later.
A 5 is NOT high enough to rate this book. On a 5 scale it is a 6. Mercedes, Cora, and Noah have been friends since childhood. Mercedes has always been the glue that kept them all together, and she ignores her feelings for Noah in order to let broken Cora grab onto happiness when Cora admits she’s in love with him. I adored Mer’s character. She’s seriously amazing. So strong, yet sweet and giving. A gem among women. And Noah. Sigh. He’s had a tough life, but he’s a good man. A patient man. I loved each and every character, even the broken ones.
Themes in The Smallest Part included suicide, depression, and the homeless problem. The setting is Salt Lake City, where I have witnessed the homeless problem myself. I loved how sensitively, yet bluntly Amy Harmon portrayed the grief and challenges these issues bring. How suicide not only affects the victim, but their families and friends for years or even the rest of their lives. It leaves painful, ugly gouges in their hearts and souls. I loved how the book promoted kindness, even simple acts we might not think much about, and to people we usually are tempted to shun. Small, kind acts can change lives!
I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so suffice it to say that Harmon is the master at surprising you. Her stories always take a twist I never imagined, and leave me almost breathless at the discovery. I loved this book. It seriously took my breath away and was either yanking on my tear chain, or messing with my laughing box. Keep a box of Kleenex next to you for this one.
CAVEAT: For those who like squeaky clean romance, there is some language and sex scenes. But I will say that I don’t like those things in books either, but the way Amy Harmon used those didn’t offend me at all. The sex is not detailed or graphic, and is a strategic part of the story in the character growth from the emotions and demons it builds. The language felt very true to life for the characters involved, and the F-bomb I despise wasn’t used. So those issues did not affect my reading experience.
In the end, only three things matter: How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” – Unknown
Even Abuela’s ailments were turned into cause for gratitude. “I have a tickle in my throat today. I think it is because you made me laugh so hard last night. We are lucky to laugh together, don’t you think?” They were words that meant nothing and everything. Words that made Mercedes feel safe and reminded her that life would go on beyond a temporary pain. Mercedes tried to give the same kind of words to Cora, hopeful that she would be soothed by the inanities and anchored by their normalcy.
It may be a small part, but you’ll kill it,” Noah promised. “I know you will. Sometimes it’s the smallest part that steals the show.”
Everyone deserves compassion. And I know suicide isn’t always a conscious act. Most of the time it’s sheer desperation. It’s a moment of weakness that we can’t come back from. But regardless of illness or weakness, if we don’t own our actions and don’t demand that others own theirs, then what’s the point? We might as well give up now. We have to expect better of ourselves. We have to. I expect more of my patients, and when I expect more—lovingly, patiently—they tend to rise to that expectation. Maybe not all the way up, but they rise. They improve because I believe they can, and I believe they must.” –Noah
You may not be where you want to be in your life, Mer. But I’m so glad you’re in my life.” –Noah
Life wasn’t about getting what you deserved. It was about enduring what you didn’t and not letting it destroy you.
Because this book is about kindness and love, to enter the drawing, tell me about an act of kindness someone else did for you. It can be big or small (this book is called The Smallest Part). I’ll give away a copy of Amy’s book at the end of the month (3/31) to a random commenter. Have a great week, and reach out and do something kind today. Be a small part of someone else’s good day.