THE OPPOSITE OF NEVER by Mary Kathleen  Mehuron

THE OPPOSITE OF NEVER

A Novel
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Three women in a Vermont town navigate the challenges of late middle age in this novel.

Longtime friends Yvonne Paquette, Georgia Best, and Linda Kingsley meet to walk most mornings. They welcome new friend and recent retiree Kenny Simmons on their hikes, unaware that he is already linked to them. Years ago, Yvonne’s son, Spencer, was seriously injured in a car accident while under the influence of drugs. Kenny’s stepdaughter, Zelda, was not only in the car, but supplied Spencer with the drugs as well. When Yvonne and Kenny unknowingly reintroduce Spencer and Zelda (now sober and pregnant by another man), they rekindle their romance, much to Yvonne’s concern. Meanwhile, Kenny and Georgia cannot ignore their growing mutual attraction, which blossoms when he helps her find a new house. Zelda experiences a life-changing accident, for which Yvonne blames herself, followed soon after by another freak auto crash involving Yvonne’s husband and Linda. At the same time, Georgia faces relentless resentment from her daughter, Margot. Margot objects not only to her mother’s newfound romance, but also to her unwillingness to continue to bankroll her daughter’s lifestyle. With the specter of opioid abuse haunting their New England town, all three families are forced to encounter the ramifications of this social issue by the story’s end. This entertaining novel by educator and columnist Mehuron (Fading Past, 2015) is a welcome addition to the genre of women’s fiction, with protagonists not just over the age of 30, but well over 40. They show that—as much as the reality may disgust characters like Margot—people over 50 still fall in love and have sex. But aside from the conflict provided by a few players, the characters get along unrealistically well. While Kenny’s and Yvonne’s ability to forgive their children for the havoc their addictions wreak is commendable (no matter how much readers will want to wring Spencer’s and Zelda’s necks), it is also a bit Pollyannaish. And Georgia and Kenny’s trip to Havana—based on the author’s own experiences—at the end of the book is captivating but is unnecessary to the story and seems like an afterthought.

An enjoyable tale featuring 50-something protagonists coping with contemporary social problems.

Pub Date: April 24th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-943006-50-2
Publisher: Spark Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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