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Finding a Way : Diane Simmons

Finding a Way : Diane Simmons


I prepared myself with many tissues for reading Diane Simmons’ linked flash collection, Finding A Way, but found I didn’t use as many as I expected. Not because this isn’t an emotionally affecting tale – it very much is – but because it’s ultimately a hopeful book, as summed up in its title. It expresses emotions deeper than tears – fortitude, resilience, the human capacity for survival and even joy after a terrible loss.
Finding A Way is the story of a family after the death of Becky, a young woman on the cusp of her adult life, told from the differing perspectives of the four people most intimately affected – her mother, father, brother, and young husband. These people are real, relatable people, and their different journeys through grief are depicted with stark honesty. And we get to see them through each other’s eyes, how they can be obsessive, stoic, vulnerable, or angry, but there is always love in those perspectives.
I did need the tissues several times – for Jake, Becky’s husband, scrolling through his texts in Thailand, hoping against hope to hear from Becky (“Processing”). For Christopher, Becky’s father, having to deal with a clueless colleague who thinks two years is ancient history (“Over It”). For Sam, Becky’s younger brother, frustrated at his mother nagging him to eat because she’s afraid of losing him too (“Choices”). And especially “Another Chance” in which the mother, Liz, wrestles with a deep desire to have another daughter. “To try harder this time to keep my child alive.”
Diane Simmons has also succeeded brilliantly in ensuring that each individual stand-alone flash flows seamlessly into the next to create a full and satisfying narrative. The care and technical mastery required to do this is considerable, and I take my hat off to her. This gentle, aching, masterly collection with its beautifully crafted ending will stay with me for a long time.
Date Added: 03/13/2019 by Fiona M.
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