A Simple Thing by Kathleen McCleary

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A Simple Thing” by Kathleen McCleary is a novel about the trials of learning about yourself and finding peace while struggling with parenthood.

Susannah Delaney is a neurotic, controlling and anxious mother whose life seems to be spiralling out of control as her teenage daughter begins to rebel and assert her independence in very self-destructive ways, and her young son is being bullied by other children in their suburban world. Susannah decides that she wants to “save” her family, so she packs up their things and proceeds to move her two children to a remote island off of the coast of Washington State-leaving her husband behind, blinking in awe.

Katie and Quinn are none too pleased about the new arrangement at first, but as they begin to make new friends and get comfortable, she begins to wonder if she has made a huge mistake. Do life’s problems just follow you wherever you go, or can you escape them by changing your surroundings? Susannah is forced to deal with her own demons as she realizes a great deal about herself, her marriage and her children out on a barely populated island with no electricity and plenty of time to think about what is really important.

This is a novel about parenting, marriage, love, resentment, blame and shame, but most importantly, it’s a novel about learning who you are and accepting that there are some things you just can’t change.

If you love women’s fiction or anything about motherhood, you will not want to miss this novel. It’s also a GREAT vacation read, especially if you are “roughing” it. If you like this novel, also look out for “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty, which has similar themes and an equally satisfying ending.

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