Monday, February 15, 2010

Shelter Me

Shelter Me
Juliette Fay

Shelter Me is Fay's debut novel. In it, she chronicles the life of a young woman and two children after the tragic and sudden death of her husband. After Robby dies, Janie must try and keep it together for her two young children while dealing with her overwhelming grief. Fay does a wonderful job of showing the stages of grief as well as the twists and turns of motherhood in her first novel.

Janie's husband, Robby, commissioned a porch be built for her as a surprise. Tug Malinowski shows up and surprises her with the plans and Janie allows the porch to be built. Tug is a divorced, attractive man who becomes attracted to Janie but knows she's in no way over her husband and ready to move on.

Fay shows Janie's path to emotional healing through Janie's sometimes short, but pithy journal entries where she talks about how she hates the fucking rain and how pissed she is at her husband for dying. She forms a friendship and attraction to the local priest, Father Jake Sweeney, who has deep, dark secrets of his own and questions his vow of celibacy as he and Janie grow closer.

Fay paints a beautiful portrait of a young woman completely weighted down by grief but with a sense of humor that gets her through even the darkest days. Janie knows she needs to be strong for her children, Dylan who's only 3 or 4 and Carly who's 8 months old. Janie takes joy in watching her children grow and the moments that make motherhood worthwhile. All in all, a great book and a wonderful debut.