How would you react if you found out that life as you knew it would no longer exist in a mere 6-8 weeks?
Author Jamie Jo Hoang introduces us to Aubrey Johnson, an artist just reaching her prime who has been diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disorder that will blind her completely in only a few short weeks. As she attempts to digest the news and reconcile with what this means for her life, a childhood friend reappears after years of no contact. Jeff Anderson, a Texas country boy that Aubrey grew up with, invites her to join him on a trip around the world, and she agrees. Both Aubrey and Jeff wrestle to wrap their heads around life’s changes in a story that spans the globe while discovering inner contentment.
Most commendable is Hoang’s ability to produce a well-written and well-edited novel, which is something of great importance for indie writers. Though the foreshadowing of disease in the beginning was choppy and a bit confusing, the rest of the novel flowed smoothly. Through rich, artistic description, Hoang paints a moving picture of identity and the reinventing of oneself after tragedy strikes. Aubrey Johnson faces a real, life altering situation, and Hoang chronicles Aubrey’s experience without falling into cliche or melodrama. Aubrey’s laser sharp focus on the intricacies of her surroundings throughout her trip heightens the intensity of her diagnosis.
Though some of the story’s life revelations may seem trite, the novel is relateable. The juxtaposition of Aubrey and Jeff’s internal struggles and the humorous banter that exists between lifelong friends makes for an easy, but layered read. Aubrey’s artistic background also adds a layer of image and beauty to the language Hoang so aptly weaves. Though she has a habit of stringing together serialized list style sentences, Hoang has a knack for painting a visual picture in the mind’s eye of the reader.
Quite intriguing is the relationship between Aubrey and Jeff and how their adult dilemmas give them a new sense of common ground after years apart. Aubrey, a visual artist going blind, and Jeff the all around good guy feeling stuck in an unwanted life, compliment each other well, each adding a little something back into each other’s lives that they didn’t realize was missing until it surfaced.
It’s always refreshing to read an indie author’s well executed, self-published work. Recommended.
About the Author
Jamie Jo Hoang is the author of BLUE SUN, YELLOW SKY. Her driver’s license says she lives in Los Angeles, but she tries to escape to foreign lands as often as possible. She is a writer, thinker, explorer, lover of tea, certified advanced diver, and never far from an ocean. She blogs about her life and travels at:www.heyjamie.com. Tweets at: @heyjamie. And posts pretty pictures on Instagram as @heyjamiejo.
Publisher: HJ Press ISBN: 978-1-63443-370-9 (e-book) ISBN: 978-1-63443-371-6 (Paperback, available 05/25/15)