I was thrilled to receive this ARC of How to Walk Away by Katherine Center from the publisher and The Girlfriend. The topic of this novel is near and dear to my heart as a physiatrist (don’t know what that is? Google it. I’ll wait 😀) and I found myself holding my breath sometimes hoping she got it “right.” No spoilers, but she did.
Margaret is newly engaged with a bright future when a devastating accident leaves her severely injured, in the hospital, and facing a life she never wanted. I have taken care of hundreds of people in Margaret’s situation and I found myself recognizing the same reactions I’ve seen in my patients and their family members. I loved watching Margaret go through this process, coming to terms with her life, how her body has changed, learning to readjust her expectations of herself and her future, and finally embracing this new version of herself and recognizing the gifts she can share with the world.
The story is full of poignant moments between Margaret and her family, who go through their own crisis as they try to support her—sometimes in ways that aren’t very supportive. For a time, everyone is so focused on Margaret being “fixed”, on finding a miraculous cure, on the erroneous belief that if she simply tries harder, she’ll get better. I was thrilled to see that there was no miraculous cure—because that’s what we usually see in real life. To paraphrase Margaret’s physical therapist, “There are lots of ways to improve” and those don’t always involve being cured.
Katherine Center’s writing style is warm, accessible, and down-to-earth, which made the book very readable. It’s the kind of book you want to finish in one sitting. It’s also the kind of book that leaves you wishing you hadn’t read it so fast.
Recommended? YES. It’s optimistic and realistic, heart-warming and thought-provoking, with enough humor and love (including some romance! ❤️❤️) to leave the reader closing that last page with a happy sigh.
Releases May 15!