Monday, January 21, 2019

Something Worth Saving by Sandi Ward - TLC Book Tours - Jan. 21

• Paperback: 304 Pages

• Publisher: Kensington (December 18, 2018)

From the Publisher

Sandi Ward’s shrewdly observed, funny, and wonderfully touching novel tells of a fractured family, a teenage boy, and a remarkable cat whose loyalty knows no bounds . . .
A boy and his cat. It’s an unconventional friendship, perhaps, but for Charlie and Lily, it works beautifully. It was Charlie who chose Lily from among all the cats in the shelter. He didn’t frown, the way other humans did, when he saw her injured back leg, the legacy of a cruel previous owner. Instead, Charlie insisted on rescuing her. Now Lily wants to do the same for Charlie.
She’s the only one who’s seen the bruises on Charlie’s body. If she knew who was hurting him, she’d scratch their eyes out. But she can’t fix this by herself. Lily needs to get the rest of the family to focus on Charlie—not easy when they’re wrapped up in their own problems. Charlie’s mother kicked his father out weeks ago and has a new boyfriend who seems charming, but is still a stranger. Oldest son Kevin misses his father desperately. Victoria, Charlie’s sister, also has someone new in her life, and Lily is decidedly suspicious. Even Charlie’s father, who Lily loves dearly, is behaving strangely.
Lily knows what it’s like to feel helpless. But she also knows that you don’t always have to be the biggest or the strongest to fight fiercely for the ones you love . . .

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

My Perspective

Charlie, Kevin, Victoria, Jeremy, Kate, Lily, and Gretel are a family in distress.
Victor, Mark, and Ronaldo enter their lives, and things get even more complicated. 
This family has more issues to deal with than than most families, I think...I hope...but families are complicated, and there's no getting around that.  Some of the issues covered in Something Worth Saving are: 

prescription drug addiction
dysfunctional families
mental health issues
identity questions
adult friendships and relationships
retired police dogs
family relationships with pets
cat personality and behavior

Something Worth Saving is told from Charlie's cat, Lily's perspective.  I'm pretty on top of these kinds of stories because I love dogs and cats already, so you can probably imagine why I volunteered to read this in the first place.  I do think it helps the reader to have affection for animals to really understand the nuances of the story...especially Lily's narration

Lily, whose full name is Lily J. Potter (love this) truly cares about her only a cat can.  Lily and retired police dog, Gretel have somewhat of a symbiotic relationship within the household.  They don't necessarily love each other, but they realize that each existence benefits the other, especially if they work together.  As much as I loved Lily's voice and personality, Gretel also tugged at my heartstrings.  I'm a German Shepherd mama myself so I could see Gretel's downtrodden face as Jeremy leaves her behind.  I could see her waiting for him, and I've literally seen that confusion and distress that occurs when the dog is unsure what she did wrong...even if she's done nothing wrong.  

Dealing with the range of emotions the family goes through (as evidenced by the list above), it's hard not to feel like you are part of the family...not really one of them...but you know them so well that you want what's best for all of them.
Yes, the list of struggles is long, but Ward weaves them together so that it doesn't seem like they are just thrown in.  They overlap and leading to another, some consequences of others.  The sins of the parents and all that...

One issue that I felt Ward did a really nice job of was Charlie's coming to terms with his gender identity.  Ward doesn't present this as a major family problem, and even though everyone is not thrilled about the prospect, most are cautiously supportive.  This is just the beginning for Charlie, so nothing is hashed out completely, nor did I think it should be.

I don't think this family's problems are over, but I don't think Ward misleads you into thinking this is happily ever after story.  

I enjoyed this story and have put Ward's first novel, The Astonishing Thing on my Amazon Wishlist to read soon. 

Golden Lines

There must be a way Gretel and I could work together to repair this family.  There is something worth saving in this family - a love that connects all of us and binds us together.  I include Dad in this even though he has moved out, and Mark even though he is new.  Like raindrops plunking onto the river, causing overlapping circles of waves, each member of our family impacts the next.  (243)

Sometimes the one who receives our love is a very good baby who does not live long.  Sometimes, it is a strange man who shows up to build a bookshelf.  And sometimes, it is an absolutely gorgeous cat with a funny limp who fits right into the crook of your arm.  (302)

The Author

Sandi Ward

Sandi Ward writes books about love, family, forgiveness…and cats.

Sandi grew up in Manchester-by-the-sea, Massachusetts, and received her MA in Creative Writing at New York University. She’s the author of book club novels published by Kensington Books, stories of dysfunctional families told from the point of view of the family cat. She’s also a medical copywriter at an advertising agency. She lives on the Jersey Shore with her husband, teenagers, dog and a large black cat named Winnie.
On December 18, 2018 her latest novel, SOMETHING WORTH SAVING, will be on sale (available now for pre-order) in trade paperback, e-book and audio book.
Find out more about Sandi at her website, and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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