Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Spotlight: Always Chloe and Other Stories by Catherine Ryan Hyde

This new short story collection from the author of Don't Let Me Go and Pay It Forward features ALWAYS CHLOE, the long-awaited novella sequel to Catherine Ryan Hyde's award-winning novel, Becoming Chloe.

Jordy and Chloe are living above a restaurant in Morro Bay, the first place they landed after their trip down the Big Sur Coast. But Jordy has a boyfriend now, an old flame who's come back into his life in a big way. Chloe stretches herself as far as she can go to give them her blessing, but her issues about living--or even sleeping--alone turn this happy reunion into a potential disaster. Chloe stops eating, stops sleeping, stops paddling her beloved and battered blue kayak in the bay. No one knows how to help her. When her friend Old Ben, the man who runs the fuel dock nearby, gives her some advice, his words could either save the day or send her out to sea forever, depending on her unique mind's understanding of them. A heart-wrenching stand-alone novella, and an answer to the many readers who asked for a sequel to Becoming Chloe, ALWAYS CHLOE is ultimately about the struggle to balance others' needs with our own--and exactly how expansive and forgiving the human heart can be.

This collection also includes four previously published short stories, including Breakage, which won honors in the Tobias Wolff award, and The Lion Lottery, which was cited in Best American Short Stories
My Thoughts:
 Novellas and short story collections are extremely underrated. I always keep a book in my purse for those times in life when you can't get out of waiting around for something or someone, and most of the times it's a short story collection. Even around the house there are times when I know I'm not going to have time to get into a thick book, so I grab one I can read quickly.

About 50% of this book is the novella Always Chloe, and picks up where Becoming Chloe leaves off. This was Chloe's turn to really decide if the world was beautiful or not. On her own. Not because someone was pointing it out to her, or because someone told her she should think it was. She's tried that, but until she finds it herself, she'll never really see it and be happy with life. We all know that change can be scary and adapting isn't always easy, but it's up to Chloe to find the beauty in letting Jordy love someone and letting them into her life too.  I love that there was more to read about Jordy and Chloe, and Always Chloe leaves you satisfied with the direction their lives took and with it being the end of their story. 

This book can be read as a stand alone, although I definitely recommend reading Becoming Chloe...like highly recommend it..it's not necessary in order to understand this one.

I rate Always Chloe a 5 star read!
Included short stories are 'The Lion Lottery', 'Pet Care, Tarot Readings, Maid Service' (I really liked this one), 'Breakage', and 'Fortunate Son'.