When I started this blog, I made a decision to write reviews only of books that I love for two reasons: one, because I don't want to spend any more time focusing on a book that I didn't care for in the first place, and two, because I know that I've read negative reviews of books I love and it really, really bothers me! And I can only imagine that it would be infinitely more bothersome if the author himself read the negative review.
Therefore, all my reviews are glowing and tend to use words like "enchanting," "delightful," etc. But Julia Gillian (and the Art of Knowing) truly blew me away. It left an impression on me similar to what some people feel after reading Siddhartha or On the Road or something; you'll see life differently after reading it and you're not sure why or how, just that it'll be different (at least that was the effect on me).
The story is about Julia Gillian who spends her summer walking her dog, Bigfoot, visiting her neighbors and trying to win a stuffed meerkat from the claw machine in the local hardware store. Shadowing her enjoyable summer days is an unfinished green book bound by hair bands- a book Julia Gillian is afraid to complete because she is certain it has an unhappy ending. Also clouding her summer is the fact that her parents are too distracted by their graduate schooling and the bad news in the paper to spend their days with her like they used to. However, with the help of her wise friend, Enzo, her loyal dog and her raccoon papier-mâché mask, Julia Gillian succeeds in, if not conquering her fears, at least learning how to live with them.
Sad-ending-phobic from childhood and a newspaper-avoider through adulthood, I identified completely with this memorable heroine. I am certain I could be best friends with Alison McGhee. I thoroughly loved this book- it was 100% perfect. And, although I will not divulge the end to Julia Gillian's green book, I can tell you that Julia Gillian (and the Art of Knowing) has an ending that is even better than a happy ending. If that's possible.