I have an affinity for books I like to refer to as beautifully sad. I don’t search these types of books out, rather when I read one that is such it seems to touch my soul and resonate with me. Maybe it’s due to my own internalizing and holding things in that I find the beautifully sad so relatable. The way these type of books aren’t afraid to bear all emotion is a kind of release I don’t allow myself too often.
Westlake Soul, a surfing champion, suffers a catastrophic injury, resulting in being in a vegetative state, unable to move or respond to anything. The only communication Westlake is capable of is with his beloved dog Hub. Westlake is in a battle to find his way out of his immobile prison and return to the life and relationships he cherishes.
I went into this book thinking it was a different type of story. One of horror and terror rather than one of emotion and a different kind of fear- fear of the possible end. The reader gets to know Westlake through his memories of life before his accident, and he’s a likeable dude. An easy going surfer who is happy with his life and its direction. The accident doesn’t change his mindset at all, just allows him to be even more appreciative of how he has lived so far and use that appreciation to try and find a way out of his current state.
Youers does sprinkle the book with touches of sentiment, though it is the perfect amount. Allowing the reader just enough emotion and feeling and then being able to move on. He captures emotions and feelings in realistic ways without being manipulative or duplicitous.
This is the second book of Youers I’ve read and I’ve enjoyed both in totally different ways. This one, however, is one of those books that was unexpected to me. Mainly due to the impact it had on me. Every reader has a different experience when reading a book. This one is beautifully sad to me and I couldn’t be happier with that experience.